No one gambles as much as the Australians, and there are many more slot machines in this country than in any other. There are also many more problem gamblers here than there are in any other country, with as much as 500,000 of Australians’s 23 million purported to be at risk.
Obviously, this is because gambling is legal and widely available in Australia, or is it? The truth is that whilst many people seem to assume that is the case, it’s not as clear and obvious as that. There are several grey areas to the many gambling laws that govern Australia, and these also differ from state to state.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the gambling laws in South Australia, which is home to over 1,5 million people, most of which reside in the city of Adelaide.
Gambling Legality in South Australia
There are a few laws concerning gambling in South Australia, including the Authorised Betting Operations Act of 2000, the Casino Act of 1997 and the Gaming Machines Act of 1992. These laws state a number of things, including that unlicensed games of poker, blackjack and other card games are illegal if they are played for profit, or if a rake or fee is taken. However, if these games are not-for-profit or if they are played without stakes, then they are legal. This applies to public and private places, but obviously there are exceptions. After all, the government is not willing to give up all of the potential tax income and tourism that legal gambling can generate, which is why you will find a legal casino operating in this region.
You will notice that we didn’t use the plural there, which is because there is only one casino in this region, the Adelaide Casino, which used to be known as the Skycity Adelaide. This is a very big casino and one that has operated here since 1985. There is a poker room, a huge gambling floor and more, and as long as you’re gambling inside the casino, and you of legal age (at least 21) then you are not breaking the law.
Of course, gambling licenses are also granted to other premisses, including sports bars, restaurants and more, all of which can apply for a license to install pokies. The licensing is not as straightforward here as it is in other regions, including New South Wales, which is why there are not as many pokies here, still, you won’t need to go far to find one.
Outside of the casino, racebooks, sportsbooks, poker rooms and more are not very easy to find. But if you’re desperate to place a few bets on the Sport of Kings, or you want to bet on your favourite sport, then jump online, where there are many more possibilities, all of which are legal.
Online gambling is widely available throughout much of Australia, but again, it is not as straightforward as that. Online gambling sites are not allowed to operate from within South Australia or indeed any other region in the country. There are also strict laws about advertising, which makes it very difficult for online sportsbooks, casinos and poker rooms to succeed. However, gambling is so ingrained in the culture here that they rarely need to advertise directly, and sites such as the poker room Pokerstars, and the casino Spin Palace, have a high number of Australian players on their books.
Simply put, this is because these sites are based overseas, regulated elsewhere and working under the laws of a different country. The Australian government has been trying to put a stop to this, as have many other governments who see online gambling as a threat, but there are too many loop holes, too many possibilities, and as of yet nothing has been done about it. That’s why whether you’re from South Australia, Western Australia or New South Wales, you will not have a problem finding legal online gambling websites.
In South Australia, and across all of Australia, your winnings will not be subject to tax. This is because gambling is considered to be a hobby and not a career (try telling that to poker players and blackjack professionals) but also because the government views your “earnings” a result of fortune and not of hard work. However, whilst individuals are not taxed, the same can’t be said for those who run sportsbooks and casinos, as these guys are taxed heavily.
This tax changes depending on the business, with racebooks, sportsbooks and lotteries taxed on their turnovers, and poker machines, casinos and keno games taxed on player losses. Many of these are also subject to license fees.
Of course, tax may be the thing that saves regions like South Australia, the thing that ensures lotteries, poker machines and casinos still operate here, because without the tax income that these things create there would be a sizeable hole in the government’s coffers every year. Nothing can generate the sort of money that gambling generates, which is a saving grace for gamblers everywhere.