26 December 2014

Alert Priority Moderate

Many Australians may be tempted to gamble on overseas websites offering attractive odds and betting options unavailable through their domestic counterparts. However, many of these websites and the individuals and organisations behind them may not be subject to the rigorous regulations applicable to online gambling in Australia.

We would advise Australians to be very careful about gambling on overseas websites. Not only may the interactive gambling services themselves be illegal to provide in this country, but even if you win, collecting may not be easy.

Take ‘John’ for example, who decides to gamble with an overseas casino, deposits $200 into his online account and begins playing. After some time, he manages to win some money and works his balance up to $2,000. He then decides to withdraw his winnings – but the website operator refuses to pay.

John has limited options under these circumstances. The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) makes it an offence to provide or advertise certain interactive gambling services to customers in Australia. Prohibited services include online casino-style gaming services of chance or mixed skill and chance, such as online roulette and online poker machines, which are played for money or anything else of value.

If you gamble with an overseas hosted website you are doing so at your own risk. Many of these online services do not comply with consumer protection and harm minimisation requirements and pose a significant risk to Australians.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Department of Communications’ roles do not include taking action on behalf of Australian users who have deposited money with an overseas hosted gambling site.

So what steps should Australian online gamblers take to protect themselves? Always read the terms and conditions. Avoid gambling on overseas hosted sites, even when they appear to be targeted at Australians. Remember, if the site is hosted overseas, there is very little action you can take if you run into any trouble.

More information

For further information you can visit the ACMA’s general information page, as well as the Department of Communications' online gambling frequently asked questions page.

Please email the Department of Communications' Online Gambling area at online.gambling [at] communications.gov.au if you have any further enquiries.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.

Feedback

Thank you to those subscribers who have provided feedback to our Alerts and Newsletters. We are very interested in your feedback and where possible take on board your suggestions or requests.

Disclaimer

This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.

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