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That’s quite logical, as those markets are going through some interesting times nowadays, but, at the same time, we shouldn’t forget about our friends from the Southern Hemisphere. INTERACTIVE GAMBLING AMENDMENT BILL 2016 It looks like this new bill will come into effect on the 13th September 2017, and accordingly online casinos are existing the Australian market. In a nutshell, this new bill makes online gambling illegal for Australians. It also makes advertising gambling to Australians illegal too. In the next two weeks most online casinos will have made it clear if they are leaving the Australian market. I expect that some will continue to operate there, but they may not be so clear about that, for what should be obvious reasons. Currently, both MicroGaming and Netent software companies have declared that they will no longer operate in the market. While I wait for official confirmation from those casinos in the above list, you can assume that any casino listed there that uses either of those software makers games will not offer those games to Australians. A Bit of History Although the history of online casino gaming in Australia isn’t nearly as colorful as the history of online casino gaming in, say, the United States, there are a few interesting bits that you might want to know about nonetheless. For example, we feel obliged to mention that the situation we’re currently in is – more or less – a direct result of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. It’s a bit sad that such a modern industry is still governed by a piece of legislation that’s more than a decade old, but that’s what we all have to roll with. In any case, the regulatory practices the Interactive Gambling Act talks about concern the operators only, so players have got absolutely nothing to worry about from this particular angle. Put simply, they can play – legally – at every single online casino that is willing to accept their wagers. Local companies that want to get into the online business, on the other hand, are severely limited, being able to offer only a handful of services – and full-fledged online casinos aren’t among them. The other interesting bit that we would like to talk about here is that the recent years saw plenty of well-known UK companies swarming around the Australian market and many of them even getting in, so, once you start looking around the entire scene, you might be able to spot many names that you’ve already seen elsewhere. This is especially true when it comes to online sports betting, but it goes without saying that those companies are doing their best to offer other online gaming opportunities as well. Casino Availability Although Australia has never been the biggest market for online gaming, it’s one that many casinos are currently turning towards in their plans for further expansion, which naturally has plenty of positive side-effects for Australian players. Nowadays, almost every single premium online casino out there offers its services to Australians and most of them are even happy to offer accounts in Australian dollars, so the situation is as comfortable as it could possibly be on the availability front. The only issue that we could possibly think of is that the largely unrelated market does have its dangers is that you can also find a number of shady casinos that you simply wouldn’t want to trust, so our recommendation is that you should always do at least a bit of research before you actually register and make the first deposit. Reading a review or two should be enough to ensure that there won’t be any nasty surprises down the line. Deposits Despite the fact that there are numerous payment methods available for players that want to make an online casino deposit, it seems to us that most players are nonetheless unwilling to venture away from the two most popular methods, i.e. credit cards and direct bank transfers. We aren’t going to put anyone off using those, but you should be aware of two small details before you start using them. First, some online casinos will charge you for using a credit card. Second, traditional bank transfers will typically take two or three days to get processed. The first of those issues can only be solved by finding an online casino that doesn’t have fees for credit card deposits. Meanwhile, the second can be used by using one of the services that accommodate instant bank transfers. One of them – POLi – focuses on Australia and New Zealand, so that’s undoubtedly your best bet if you decide to go for this option. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you should consider using one of the popular e-wallets like Skrill or Neteller, as those are ideal for players that like to move their bankrolls around on a regular basis, either just to try something new or to collect all those juicy bonuses. Withdrawals Whereas players from the United States have to pay hefty fees and endure long waits before they get their money back from the online casino they’re playing at, players from Australia have little to be worried about on this particular front, as withdrawals tend to be painless and reasonably quick. Of course, much of this depends on the exact casino you’re playing at – while some will process the withdrawal on the same day as you request it, some will actually take a day or two to do that, which can naturally considerably lengthen the time frame. As far as the methods that are available to Australians are concerned, there really don’t seem to be any tight restrictions on what can be used, so the standard deposit fare should also be readily available for withdrawal requests. In fact, many online casinos will ask you to use the very same method for both deposits and withdrawals, as that’s a practical way to guarantee that everything will work well. Not all deposit methods can be used for withdrawals, however – for example, not all credit cards accept withdrawals. In that case, it’s all down to regular bank transfers that we all love for how quick they are (please note the irony). However, the most reputable online casinos out there will allow you to change that to the e-wallet of your choice if you ask them politely, so that’s worth a shot if you already have one set up. The one hassle that we should speak about here (and, hopefully, also the only one that you’ll ever have to deal with) is the so-called identity verification process that many casinos will ask you to go through before your first withdrawal. It’s all about sending the casino a proof of your identity (i.e. a personal document or two) and it’s something that casinos holding European licenses have to do in order to comply with the rules. The only way to avoid this is by finding a casino that doesn’t have such a license – and that naturally carries considerable risk that far outweigh the risks that come with sending some personal data to a trustworthy online casino. Quirks and Details Enjoying online casinos from Australia is sufficiently straightforward nowadays, so we don’t really have all that many tips and tricks to give you, although we have something to say about using e-wallets for deposits. As we’ve mentioned above, e-wallets – thanks to their flexibility – are ideal for moving money around quickly, for example when a new deposit bonus surfaces. The casinos know about this, however, and some of them don’t give bonuses on deposits that are made through them, so you should always check the terms and conditions before you make what you think is a qualifying deposit. We’re not suggesting that you should read them in its entirety (although that naturally wouldn’t hurt) – just a brief glance will usually be enough for you to learn whether the used deposit method matters. The other interesting quirk that’s undoubtedly worth mentioning is that Australians are currently unable to enjoy the online slots that were created by Aristocrat, the biggest provider of pokie machines in the country. It’s a decision the company made on its own in order to stay away from any possible legal issues and it’s also one that reveals how absurd the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 is. Future Outlook As far as we can see, the future outlook for Australia is as mixed as it could possibly be. A number of liberalization proposals were on the table at the time of writing, with their backers arguing that the current rules are harming local businesses without really regulating the online market in any significant way. Unfortunately, there also seems to be stern opposition to these proposals from many sides of the debate, with a number of lawmakers being on the very opposite side of the spectrum. In fact, we’ve also witnessed some attempts to propose websites blocking in order to enforce the current legislation in the strictest possible manner, but the good news is that none of them gained any solid support. With this in mind, we’ll stay way from making any concrete predictions, as a lot depends on details that virtually nobody is able to see from far away. We also suppose that some politicians are closely following the developments in Europe and that they might take a few hints from their outcomes, which is something that could also go either way really. Summary All in all, players from Australia are currently in a fairly comfortable position, being able to access a large variety of online casinos without any particular hassles or obstructions. Local operators have it much tougher, as foreign websites don’t have nearly as many hoops to jump through, but we reckon that you probably aren’t too concerned about that as long as there are great casinos to play at.