This guide is designed for all keen players who want to gamble online in Australia. Here, we are to unveil key facts, striking statistics, useful tips, and elaborate strategies for playing real-money pokies online.
Are you eager to find out which types of gambling activities are allowed in Australia? Have you been wondering how to pick the best casino with top-quality pokies? Or, learn about betting tactics? If at least one of your answers is ‘YES’, then read on!
Gambling in Australia: Stats & Laws
There’s no secret that Australians are among the world’s biggest bettors and spenders when it comes to casinos. More than 80% of adults are gamblers. Moreover, 0.5%-1% of Australian adults suffer from gambling addiction, while 1.4%-2.1% of citizens have moderate risks of addiction.
The 2018 edition of Australian Gambling Statistics notes that the country had $16.6 billion in total gambling spending. Casinos accounted for $3.4 billion, while electronic slot machines, or pokies, enjoyed $8.5 billion. What’s more interesting, the country leads the worldwide ranking focused on per capita spending. The average Australian spends $877 on gambling.
Web-based Casino Paradox
The mentioned figures are pretty impressive but they could be even bigger! The catch is that Australian bureaus rarely include online betting in the official reports. Australia prohibited nearly all forms of online gambling with its Interactive Gambling Acts of 2001 and 2016 respectively. Today, only certain activities such as sports betting excluding in-play wagers are allowed. And even legalized gambling types are subject to high taxes – from 8% to 15%.
Here are the stats for a point-of-consumption tax on sports betting revenue by states:
- 8%: Victoria;
- 10%: New South Wales;
- 15%: Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia.
The paradox is in the stats. If we collect data about online betting (both legal and formally illegal) we would see that Australians play much more often. Most likely, gambling expenditure would be way higher, as well. Due to high taxes and overall unfavorable environment for online gambling, citizens prefer to play in offshore casinos. Sometimes, they have to use VPNs, but instead they get the freedom of choosing among hundreds of online games without taxes.
Regulations and Loopholes
The main document that defines the legal state of online gambling in Australia is the Interactive Gambling Act issued in 2001. It’s also amended by the Interactive Gambling Act of 2016.
The first paper introduced three key restrictions. Nowadays, it’s illegal for local companies or individuals to:
- Provide gambling services to Australians;
- Provide gambling services to foreigners;
- Advertise gambling services.
Individuals who violate these rules are subject to a fine – up to $220,000 per day of illegal operations. At the same time, fines for companies can go as high as $1.1 million per day!
The next official document entered into force in 2016. It specifies that all forms of online gambling that aren’t allowed are banned. Ads and bets during ongoing sports events are prohibited, too. Most importantly, Australian authorities introduced local licenses that are obligatory for all offshore providers willing to operate in the country. This amendment forced famous casinos and large gambling networks to leave the market.
But what’s legal though? Now, Australians can bet online on sports events, races, and lotteries except for instant-win cards. The most controversial fact is that local laws don’t actually prohibit citizens from gambling online! There are no fines or penalties for individual players at all. Therefore, the citizens of Australia can still enjoy online gambling. They just should spend a bit more time to find a reliable casino operator. Let’s check how to do so.
The Newbie Guide to Online Pokies
Long story short, there are thousands of online casinos all over the world. Some of them accept only local players, while others are happy to deliver games to everybody. Reputable platforms operate under the licenses issued by certain territories, e.g. the UK, the Isle of Man, Malta or Curacao. Additionally, trusted casinos follow the principles of responsible gambling and don’t allow underage players or those who want to launder money.
1. Check the Platform’s Reputation
First things first – you must choose a platform to gamble at and check its reputation. But, you should remember that not all casinos are reliable and not all of them accept Australians. Hopefully, there are casino aggregators that list websites for Australian players. Moreover, you can ‘google’ the best casinos for Australians on your own, as well as the platforms that accept deposits in AUD.
The next step is the most important one – you must ensure that the chosen casino delivers a safe and secure gambling experience. You should already know that the provider accepts Australians but how does it treat players? What security measures does it use?
First of all, it’s necessary to ensure that the operator has a license. Online gambling licenses are official documents issued by the authorized regulatory bodies of different countries. They confirm that a casino operates under the jurisdiction of these states and that the players are protected.
European licenses are the most expensive for operators but also the most reliable. US-based casinos and players can deal with Caribbean states or local native territories. The latter option is more preferable. Regardless of the chosen jurisdiction, make sure to avoid casinos without licenses.
Another important thing to watch for is tech certification. Several national and global organizations test gambling algorithms and random number generators (RNGs) to ensure players that machines are unbiased and unrigged. Mainly, you should look for certificates from eCOGRA – the most famous agency. Gaming Laboratories, iTech Labs, and Trisigma are fair, too.
2. Register at International Casino
After you have gone through all the steps mentioned above, you could proceed to account registering. As we’ve stated, there are numerous platforms that attract new players with lucrative offers: bonuses, promotions, free cash, and various comps. Overall, the registration process breaks into several steps:
- Click a registration button, e.g. “Sign Up”, “Register”, “Join”, or “Open Account”.
- Accept terms and conditions but don’t forget to read them carefully.
- Set contact information, including email, password, country, and currency.
- Enter details: full name, date of birth, country, city, street address, postal code.
Upon completion, casinos will let you start gambling. The most secure platforms enable two-factor authentication automatically, and ask you to enter the code sent to your phone for accessing your account. Less diligent operators don’t even require personal details until you want to cash out. Nearly all of the sites, however, check your ID at the withdrawal stage.
3. Make a Deposit
In most scenarios, it’s required to transfer money to begin gambling but some casinos deliver no deposit bonuses, or free money. Be extremely cautious with them as such offers have high wagering requirements that force you to bet up to 100x initial bonus amount to make it cashable.
Thus, we suggest starting with a small amount of your own cash. To make a deposit, find the eponymous button in your account. Banking methods may vary across casinos but there are a few common options:
- Credit/debit cards. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express cards are accepted in almost all casinos. They have moderate fees and short processing time.
- Bank transfers. Direct payments from banks come with proper security measures but they feature high fees, slow transactions, and can potentially be blocked by the government.
- Payment services. Platforms like POLi make bank transfers faster and simpler. This one doesn’t have its own fees and doesn’t require credit cards.
- Prepaid cards. For Australia, Neosurf and UPayCard are the most famous prepaid systems. They allow buying vouchers that can be redeemed in different casinos.
Highly popular e-wallets such as PayPal, Skrill or Neteller are rarely available in Australia, just for the record. Instead, you can use another wonderful depositing method – cryptocurrency. Innovative casinos accept Bitcoin and may work with Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Tether. Cryptocurrencies aren’t controlled by banks or governments so you don’t have to share sensitive data. This option should be useful for gamblers who seek perfect anonymity.
Remember that each deposit method has different fees and processing time. Choose wisely to strike the right balance between these parameters.
4. Choose a Game and Start Gambling
Now that you are registered and have money on your account, it’s time to play! Feel free to explore the games provided by the casino platform, look through its catalog, and find the titles you like. Usually, operators support demo modes so you can try the chosen game with free chips before gambling for real money.
Casinos for Australians put great emphasis on pokies. Surely, you can find a lot of other games: roulette, poker, blackjack, baccarat, craps, bingo, keno, and live dealer games with streamed action. However, pokies are extremely popular so casinos list hundreds of different titles from dozens of providers.
Further, we will focus on three primary types of online pokies in Australia.
This is the most traditional game that roots back to early slot machines placed in saloons and Australian pubs. As the name suggests, 3-reel pokies feature only three reels with various symbols like fruits, bells, and numbers.
These pokies rarely provide for top-notch graphics or innovative gameplay features. They are similar to slot machines of the past not only in terms of symbols but also in visual and audio effects. 3-reel pokies are simple, smooth, and fast. They are perfect for gamblers who want to spin the wheels and try their luck without diving in the plot too much.
Let’s look at the key parameters of 3-reel pokies:
- Paylines: pokies include 1, 3 or 5 winning lines. 1-line games are the most widespread.
- Volatility: these pokies have low volatility so they pay more often but fewer amounts.
- Jackpots: they are pretty small and rarely exceed $1,500.
To play 3-reel pokies, it’s enough to place a single bet and start the game. These pokies don’t require too much attention so you can use the auto-play feature and relax. It’s also simple to remember winning combinations as there are only a few of them.
Examples: Billion Dollar Gran, Break da Bank, Cash Splash, Fruit Fiesta, Gold Coast, Mega Joker.
Unlike their 3-reel counterparts, these pokies are more diverse and creative. They were commonplace as land-based machines, too. But, the boom of 5-reel pokies was triggered by the online casinos’ expansion. Software providers realized that they could create innovative pokies with amazing graphics and entertaining plot. So, 5-reel games flooded the market.
When it comes to gameplay and user experience, these pokies are really captivating. Often, you can find branded 5-reel slots designed as a part of a famous franchise such as Avengers, Game of Thrones or Pirates of the Caribbean. 5-reel pokies feature various winning combos, unique wild symbols, and innovative options like VR gambling.
- Paylines: may include 5, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 100, 243, and even 1024 ways to win.
- Volatility: usually, they come with high volatility and pay high but less often.
- Jackpots: potential winnings are huge and may hit hundreds of thousands.
It’s recommended to start with demo games to understand how 5-reel slots work. They may feature a vast number of winning combinations so you should explore symbols and lines carefully. Plus, these pokies often come with interesting narratives that require your attention. At the end of the day, basic gameplay principles are the same as in 3-reel slots.
Examples: Avalon, Battlestar Galactica, Gonzo’s Quest, Loaded, Stardust, The Dark Knight, Winning Wizards.
Progressive jackpots are a relatively new feature introduced by the leading software providers for casinos. Such pokies include constantly increasing prize pools that grow with each unsuccessful bet. Hence, a player that wins a progressive jackpot, collects all previous bets.
Pokies with progressive jackpots usually come with vibrant graphics and entertaining stories that drive the plot. Technically, they are similar to the previously mentioned game types. Since progressive slots can be both 3-reeled and 5-reeled, they combine distinctive features of both types:
- Paylines: from 1 to 100 lines, or up to 1024 ways to win.
- Volatility: typically, progressive pokies are highly volatile games.
- Jackpots: are bigger than those of 5-reel pokies, and can go up to $20 million.
While the gameplay is similar to traditional 3-reel or 5-reel alternatives, progressive pokies often feature more complex win options. They can be based on standalone (for one slot only), in-house (for specific pokies at the casino site) or network (all versions of the exact game in all casinos) jackpots. Often, there are several levels of each jackpot with different difficulty.
Examples: Beach Life, Gladiator, Hall of Gods, King Cashalot, Major Millions, Mega Fortune, Mega Moolah.
5. Withdraw Money
The final step of each gambling journey is the withdrawal of won money. Once you have been successful enough to get some winnings, it’s time to cash out. You should remember that casinos don’t want to lose your funds so they will try to slow down the process, confuse you with various offers, and so on. Here are the most popular casino tricks:
- Long reverse time. Casinos have a specific period during which gamblers can change their mind and cancel the withdrawal. This time may exceed 12 hours.
- Long processing time. Although it depends on both the casino and your bank, this process can still take up to 48 hours and more.
- Promo offers. Be ready for a lot of bonus promotions focused on retaining you as a customer. They will require to deposit more money and get back to gambling.
Still, if you really want to withdraw money, casino operators don’t have enough legal power to stop you. Just keep calm and wait until the transaction is finalized. Technically, you only have to ask for withdrawal using the related section in your personal profile. There, you can specify the amount and the desired banking method. Most casinos support the same options for withdrawals as they do for deposits.
Last but not least, don’t ignore ID verification and, of course, don’t try to fool casinos. Provide only real personal information to speed up the withdrawal procedure.
Online Gambling: Useful Tips and Tricks
For the last section, we have prepared a bunch of cool recommendations – betting strategies, information about bonuses and wagering requirements, plans, and limits. It’s easy to enjoy online gambling when you know about pitfalls and realize risks.
Although online casinos always feature a house edge and make it virtually impossible for gamblers to win in the long run, you can still outplay gambling sites using your brain. With proper budget planning, well-thought-out strategies, enough gambling skills, and a bit of luck, players can improve their odds greatly to avoid huge losses and boost winnings.
Among all approaches, we want to focus on five primary ones:
- Opt for high Return to Player (RTP). Each pokie has this parameter. It marks which percentage of the bet a gambler gets in the long run. Let’s say, from $100,000 spent on a slot with 97% RTP you will get $97,000, statistically. Of course, it is a rough estimation as it doesn’t include all bets from all sessions in all casinos. Still, pokies with high RTP are the best choice because they deliver better odds.
- Plan the total bankroll. This strategy is based on two types of pokies. The first one includes slots with a low denomination or low limits. They are also called penny slots or nickel slots as they support minimal bets of $0.01 or $0.05 per line. Another type, with high denomination, features bets of $5, $10, and even more per line. Choose low-limit pokies if you prefer low risks, but opt for high limits if you want to win big.
- Balance between bets and paylines. Almost all pokies allow players to wager on one, two or more lines. This means, you can stick to minimum bets with low winning chances, but also low spending per spin. Alternatively, you can cover all patterns with much higher expenses per spin. Similarly to low/high denomination, these approaches are designed for players that like low but stable income, and those who aim at risky gambling.
- Use an auto-spin feature. Playing pokies, you can automate the whole process. Just turn on this feature so the chosen slot will spin reels without manual control. Auto-spin is wonderful for games where you don’t plan to change bets. Say, it’s simple to select one line, set a bet amount of $0.05, and trigger auto-spinning. However, pay attention to the results as you may be interested in changing your bets.
- Adjust bets depending on your results. Following the idea of bet management, successful gamblers design complex plans based on the result of each spin. For example, you can enjoy a long winning streak so losing chances increase with each new game. Thus, you may want to lower bets to avoid huge losses. On the contrary, a lot of players utilize the Martingale scheme that suggests doubling your bet after each loss.
Combine these ideas to get the best results. And always control your emotions when gambling. Spontaneous decisions are dangerous for players as they can go over budget limits being too encouraged or too depressed. Gambling should be an enjoyable activity that generates some profit sometimes.
Bonuses in Online Pokies
Moving further, let’s look at the opportunities to improve not only your bets but your bankroll. Software providers try to engage gamblers with various perks such as in-game bonuses. They can boost your winnings or reduce expenses. Here are three examples of bonuses in pokies:
- Free spins. Put simply, these are rounds that don’t require you to wager your own money. They start with the minimum possible bet but all the winnings are credited to your account. Free spins are also often delivered as bonus packages for newcomers in various casinos.
- Bonus rounds. After triggering a few bonus symbols in a row, players enter unique rounds featured in hundreds of slots. These rounds are based on spinning wheels (spin to win extra spins or money), clicks (click to win cool stuff) or actions (shoot, slide, scratch, etc.).
- Multipliers. These special symbols are similar to bonus icons but they increase your winnings on the go, without bonus rounds. Multipliers can boost only one win in a given round or the entire jackpot featured in the pokie.
The best thing about in-game bonuses is that they don’t feature wagering requirements (we will cover them in the next section). Moreover, almost all online pokies feature one or another bonus type so they are suitable for new players.
The final pack of useful tips is right here! They should work nice both for newcomers and experienced players:
- Try the demo mode. The majority of slots support free rounds. Via them, gamblers can try the gameplay without wagering real cash or chips. Casinos provide thousands of demo chips so you can try various tactics and strategies.
- Plan money and time limits. According to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2016, Australian casinos have to provide self-exclusion options. This means, gamblers can always set game limits, e.g. 2 hours of playing or $100 spent in a row.
- Remember about wagering requirements (WR). All bonuses delivered by online casinos come with WR. Due to them, players have to wager more money (up to 100x) to make the initial bonus amount cashable. Always read the terms and conditions to reveal WR.
- Check the fairness. In addition to the already mentioned licenses and certificates, you want to check audit results. Gambling auditors ensure that a specific casino is trusted and the pokies listed there have unrigged RNGs.
A Final Word
Well, that’s enough for this guide. We’ve tried to explore all key facts and strategies related to online pokies available for Australian players. For now, you should realize that Australians are free to play in any online casino that accepts gamblers from this country. Despite government penalties for individuals and companies involved in online gambling services delivery, ordinary players aren’t subject to prohibitions.
Make sure to choose pokies listed by licensed casinos that are awarded with testing certificates proving the games’ fairness. Finally, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose and never gamble once you are drunk or driven by emotions.