With regards to online gambling, Australians are ruled by the Interactive Gambling Act, passed in 2001. This law targets offers of “real money” from online operators, and its use as an incentive to sign-up players. The offer is illegal, but players are still allowed to play at online casinos for real money, and are not penalized or fined.
Its seems as though the Australian law targets operators, but will not touch the gamblers, and will not tax those winnings for the individual player, but will tax the operators. Their logic with regards to an individual player is that it is not a profession or a job, but a hobby. Gambling is also regulated by the authorities of the Territories and the States, which are not always the same rules and regulations for each region.
With around 80% (highest in the world) of the population engaged in gambling at some time or another, there is certainly a good amount of money to be made and revenue taxed for Australia. Unfortunately, this means a lot of gamblers, which in-turn means many addicts.
During any given week, over 600,000 Australians play the pokies andwith over 150,000 having problems with their gambling. As of early 2014, the population lost roughly $21 billion on an annual basis from gambling. Since the inception of the Internet and online gambling, it is easy to see why the situation could get worse for Australians. The ease and access to these games has given problem gamblers a 24 hour product in which to continue their habit. There are no doubt deeper issues to this problem, but the grey areas of the law and wavering of authorities, keeps this issue at the forefront.
Stricter laws, such as in the US with regards to online gambling, might stem the money spent on gambling, but as of now, it seems that those who enjoy gambling as a hobby and those who use it as a vice, will have a place to spend their time and money.