29 Apr

Australian Pokies FAQ For Prospective Players

Australian online poker machines are a simple way for Australian players to gamble. With a few simple steps, punters can be playing from anywhere in Australia. Software downloads take a handful of minutes, allowing a real money gambler the choice from hundreds of virtual pokies.   Players might have hesitations beyond simply opening a casino account and downloading the software. It’s natural to have many questions, when money and entertainment time is involved. This Aussie poker machine FAQ should answer all the questions you might have. If you still have hesitations after reading these frequently asked questions, contact us and we’ll answer any inquiries you might have.

General Questions about Online Pokie Machines in Australia

For a guide to playing pokies on the Internet, review any or all of these questions. Within these common Q&A topics, you’ll find a wide range of tips and suggestions you might not have considered, otherwise.

  1. How Do Pokies Make Money?
  2. Is Internet Gambling Fixed?
  3. How are Online Pokies Different from Live Pokies?
  4. Which Poker Machines Are Playable by Aussies?
  5. Is It Safe to Download Online Pokie Machine Software?
  6. Are Australian Poker Machines Safe?
  7. Do I Have to Pay Taxes on Winnings at Online Casinos?
  8. Is It Legal to Deposit from Australia?
  9. Which Government Agencies Regulate Gaming throughout Australia?
  10. Can Australians Deposit to Poker Rooms?
  11. How Do Deposit Bonuses Work?
  12. Is My Banking Information Safe Online?
  13. Are There Fees for Online Deposits and Withdrawals?
  14. Which Deposit Options Are Available for Australian Gamblers?
  15. How Much Money Is Required for Online Play?
  16. What Is the Interactive Gambling Act (2001)?
  17. Has an Aussie Ever Been Arrested for Gambling Online?
  18. Do Australian Poker Sites Still Accept Australian Punters after the 2013 Election?


How Do Online Casinos Make Their Money?

Online casinos are allowed by the authorities to set a house edge in their games, just like brick-and-mortar casinos. Given a high volume of play, the house edge is all the casino needs to assure a profit. The house edge is the mathematical advantage built into most (if not all) casino games. This does not assure the casino will win any given hand, spin, or roll of the dice.   This advantage means the casino has better chance of winning than you do on each spin, hand, or roll. Over time, the casino advantage produces all-but-certain profits for a casino. Imagine a game where you flip a coin for heads and tails. If the coin lands on heads, your opponent wins and you pay $1.00. If the coin lands on tails, you win and you’re are paid $1.05. In the end, the odds favour you. No trick is needed.

Is Online Gambling Fixed?

No. Online gambling doesn’t need to be fixed. The game’s mathematical probabilities assure, over many wagers, the casino will win more than it loses. Again, any given bet can turn out as a win or a loss. The odds are weighted in the casino’s favour, but the house edge is small enough you cannot tell the difference most of the time. Competition from other websites assure the house edge is going to be fairly low, or else everyone goes to another provider. A license to run a casino is virtually a license to print money, so an operator would be crazy to fix games and risk losing that license.   A small percentage of the online casinos you’ll visit are unlicensed. These companies might fix the games. They might refuse to pay your winnings by finding petty reasons for these decisions. They might delay payment for a long time. These are temporary operators without a brand name or reputation. That’s why people are warned to stay away from unlicensed offshore operators. Our recommendation: find a licensed and legitimate brand name site and you won’t have to worry.

What is different about Internet pokies?

Not much. Online poker machines use the same mechanism to resolve play that the land-based pokies use: the random number generator. The RNG generates thousands of results per second. The instant you click the “Spin” button, the result last selected by the computer chip is produced on your screen. With online or live pokies, the video reels simply give a visual representation of the RNG’s results.   The concept is the same whether you gamble in a club, a pub, a big casino like Crown Melbourne, on your Android phone in a public venue, or at home on your computer. With so little difference in the actual outcome of the game, the real difference is in your surroundings. Would you rather play in a big land casino, with the lights and fellow gamblers? Would you prefer a dark-lit club or bar? Or do you prefer gambling at home, 10 feet from your refrigerator?

Which Pokie Machines Are Playable in Australia?

I’ll answer that question by discussing the manufacturers, so you can study all the options. Aristocrat is the #1 domestic producer of poker machines in Australia. The Australian company has been around since 1953, and began making electronic pokie machines in 1984. Games like 5 Dragons Legends, Dolphin Treasure Legends, Ticket to Ride, and White Tiger are just a handful of their popular games. Aristocrat also has licensed pokies, such as Superman, Lex Luthor, and The Phantom.   International Game Technology or IGT is a San Francisco-based company with offices around the world, including in Australia. IGT is the biggest land-based slot machine manufacturer, and they’re poker machines have been in the Aussie market since the 1980’s. Cleopatra is a top game, as well as licensed games like Wheel of Fortune. Konami is a video and arcane game company, but the Japanese manufacturer also places poker machines in Australia. Less well known competitors are Aruze Gaming out of Japan, Ainsworth Game Technology (Aztec Fortune, Inca Reef), and Williams Gaming–usually known as WMS Gaming.  WMS Gaming produces King Midas.   On the Internet, these companies offer online pokies. Internet-based gaming companies which made their name producing software also produce games.  Companies like Microgaming and Playtech are giants in the online industry.

Are Casino Software Downloads Safe?

Absolutely. Once again, if you play at legit casinos with proper licensing, the software downloads are quite secure. Windows OS downloads are safe. Mac casino downloads are still somewhat rare, but they are secure when they exist. Those gamblers who use Mac or Linux operating systems have another option: the no-deposit casino games.   “No deposit” games use Adobe Flash or Java script to run a game in your web browser. These browser-based games require no download to play. At a time, these lagged behind in graphical and sound quality. Here in 2014, that is not the case anymore. The worst that can be said about Flash casino games is that some casinos don’t take time to convert all their virtual pokies to this format, so you might not be able to play all titles. Of course, Microsoft computer owners also have the option to use no download games, which are safe and secure.

Are Aussie Online Casino Operators Legitimate?

The Internet is home to a certain number of unlicensed, unregulated sites. If you play at these offshore casinos, you gamble at your own risk. Luckily, Australian territorial governments offered licensed to dozens of casinos. These sites have established reputations for providing trusted, legitimate products. These sites have the following common features you can use to verify their trustworthiness.

Licensed, Regulated, Taxed – Australian regulators license certain casinos, which you can double-check before you play. This means they must face third party audits of their gaming, both for holes in their security and to verify past results.

History of Payouts – Businesses online get reputations quickly. Since the Internet is an information portal, first and foremost, people who get cheated by an offshore operator let other people know on player forums, message boards, and community sites. Read reviews before you make a deposit.

Brand Name Software – Software providers design the technology used to power games. A small number of world famous software developers provide global support through licensed products. When you see someone using Microgaming, Playtech, or IGT, you know they’re probably safe.

Banking Methods – Electronic cash transfer services exist to move money around online. Often, the same methods you use for online purchases are available for gambling entertainment. Credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, web wallets, e-vouchers, and bank wire transfer services all have their own reputations. Learning about a site’s banking methods and you’ll learn how they do business.

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on Winnings?

No. Unlike most other countries around the world, Australia does not tax player winnings. The gaming regulators tax land-based casinos and gaming companies for their revenues when you (and others) lose.

Is It Legal to Make Cash Deposits to Australia Online Casinos?

Yes, but only with certain sites. According to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, Australians can make deposits to non-Aussie based gaming companies, if they are licensed by a territorial government. You’ll find hundreds of sites which fit this description. The Interactive Gaming Act states both Australian sites and international sites cannot take Aussie signups, but the government only enforces the IGA against operators they can easily touch—the domestic operators–so the foreign companies dominate the market. The IGA states directly that it is not illegal or punishable for Australians to deposit money and gamble.

What are the state and territorial regulatory authorities in Australia?

Gaming operators collected $10.2 billion in revenues in 2012 alone. The 2013 fiscal year showed similar numbers, which were actually down from the $11.2 billion of 2011. In all, poker machines account for over 60% of all gambling revenues in Australia each year. From all forms of gambling, state agencies collect roughly $5 billion each single year.   With so much money on the line, it is no surprise that the various states have developed energetic regulatory agencies to handle oversight of the gaming interests inside their states and territories. Below are the main gaming authorities in each part of Australia.

Can Australians Deposit to Online Casinos?

Absolutely. You’ll need to select a deposit method, but dozens upon dozens of payment methods exist.

How Do Welcome Bonuses Work? How Do No-Deposit Bonuses Work?

Welcome bonuses, also known as deposit bonuses or initial deposit bonuses, are promotions used to attract customers. These bonuses offer a set amount of money at a given ratio, if you’ll deposit money into your casino account. You’ll see them advertised as $300, 100% welcome bonuses. This means the site will match money you deposit up to $300, at a rate of 1-to-1. Deposit $50 and you’ll see $100 in your casino account. Deposit $300 and you’ll see $600. Deposit $500 and you’ll only see $800, though, because you’ve maxed out your bonus.   Deposit bonuses have a wagering requirement, sometimes called a “playthrough requirement”, which forces gamblers to meet minimum conditions before they can withdraw the bonus money from their account. Usually, you’ll be asked to wager the bonus 20 to 50 times before you can cash out the money. Stipulations might limit the types of games you can play, sometimes avoiding games like blackjack or video poker and requiring wagers on poker machines or keno. The idea is the house edge should take away most, if not all, of your bonus money before time to withdraw it. This protects the casino from giving away too much money.   No-deposit bonuses also exist. These require a registered account, but no payment or obligation of any kind. These bonuses tend to be smaller–maybe $5 or $10–but they are freeplay credits. These, too, will have a wagering requirement.

Is My Banking Information Safe?

If you play at a licensed casino using a top software provider like Playtech or Microgaming, your identity information and banking info is safe. Check to see if a casino is tested by a third-party company like the Australia-based Technical System Testing. TST does audits several times a week to see the games are fair, but also checks to see if the software is secure. Your gaming operator needs to invest time and money into security, so make sure they do.

Are There Fees for Casino Payments and Cashouts?

The casino itself does not charge fees. They make their money from the house edge. The money transfer services who transact the business charge fees, though. Deposits are usually free and instant, while withdrawals may incur an expense and take 3-4 business days. E-wallets and traditional banks do charge fees on these transactions. The standard rate for a web wallet is in the 2% to 3% range, but some casinos pay this fee themselves. Banking charges often involve a lump sum amount of various sizes.

Which Deposit Options Are Available for Aussie Punters?

Credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are good for all deposits, and some withdrawals. Debit cards like Visa Debit, Solo, and Maestro are available for deposits. Web wallets such as Neteller, Moneybookers (now “Skrill”), Entropay, and UseMyFunds can be used for deposits and withdrawals often.   The direct bank transfer method is used for all transactions, though these may require short delays and small fees. Paypal and POLi are useful for payments, but not cashouts. E-vouchers or prepaid cards like Ukash can be used for a deposit, but not a withdrawal. You’ll find dozens of money options available at the best sites, along with many denominations. The Australian dollar is available for any legitimate online casino.

How Much Money Must I Deposit to Play?

Most casinos have a minimum deposit to activate bonuses. Some have a minimum deposit amount. In either case, these are small. $20 is a standard minimum, though you’ll find penny pokie casinos which might require as little as $5 in your account to play. Australian online gambling has a wide range of denominations for punters, from low stakes players to high rollers to whales.

What is the IGA law and how does it regulate Australian online gambling?

The Interactive Gambling Act or IGA was passed in June 2001 by the Australian Commonwealth Parliament to regulate the emerging Internet gambling industry. Before June 2001, Australia’s legal system allowed offshore and domestic gaming operators to accept Australian players. After the IGA was passed, an individual operator could be fined a maximum $200,000 per day for violations, while a company could be fined up to $1.1 million per day.   Under the new law, average Australians cannot be punished for registering an account at one of these sites or for gambling at an online casino, poker room, or bookmaker. These operations must practice due diligence, such as warning new customers about the IGA. The Australian government has always been lenient in its enforcement of IGA, so offshore sites licensed by state or territorial governments are allowed to accept Australians.   Theoretically, the gambling cannot be “interactive”, meaning sports bets must take place before the event. Updates of the law have taken place in 2002, 2005, 200, 2010, 2011, and 2012. The 2011 expansion was the most prominent of these revisions, which were administered by the Broadband, Communications, and Digital Economy Department.

Has an Australian Online Gambler Ever Been Arrested?

No one ever has been arrested for the act of online gambling itself. Australian operators who sign up players illegally might be fined or prosecuted. If such illegal activity took place, the money transfer company or software designer might face punishment. But the most an illegal player can expect is to have a government agency bust an illegal operator, shut down the website, and freeze the casino’s accounts. These funds normally would be returned after a prosecution (or before, if a deal is struck), but the gambler will not be arrested and charged with a crime. Some parts of the world have suggested punishing illegal online gamblers, but even in these cases, the usual disincentive tends to be a fine–almost like a traffic ticket.   Some online gamblers have been arrested for crimes such as match fixing over the Internet, such as the 22 year old Englishman who was arrested at the Australian Open back in January 2014. This involved something more serious than gaming, though. Keep in mind, just because no arrests have ever happened, it is no assurance arrests won’t happen in the future. Who can say what future politicians and bureaucrats might do? It is your responsibility to continue updating yourself on local, state, and federal laws which apply to your place of residence.

Do Australian Poker Sites Still Accept Australian Punters after the September 2013 Election?

Yes, they do, but future laws could hamper their activities. The election of the Coalition to the status of majority party in September 2013 could have a dampening effect on online gambling. Tony Abbott previously has stated his opposition to online gambling at a fundamental level. In 2012, while standing on a stage with Nick Xenophon, Abbott said, “Every smartphone is a poker game and that’s just ‘not on’ as far as the Coalition is concerned. It is a dark cave into which people can so easily retreat and there they are beyond help.”   In August 2013, the Coalition issued the Policy to Help Problem Gamblers”, which read as such: “There are ongoing community concerns that the current laws prohibiting certain online gambling, such as online poker and casino games, are not being enforced…The Coalition will investigate methods of strengthening the enforcement of the IGA and ensuring Australians are protected from online gambling operators.”   The IGA makes it illegal to operate an online poker room and casino inside Australia, whether you are Australian or foreign. Australian authorities have never enforced the IGA, so international companies continue to accept Aussie players. Problem gambling is a hot-button issue in Australia at the moment, so politicians sometimes use the issue as a means to score points with voters. Tony Abbott’s administration could change policies and prosecute online operators. Individual gamblers would not be prosecuted, though.   With the Coalition ascendant in Australian politics at the moment, online gambling interests in the country could face a trying time. Independents like Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkiehave made a career out of their opposition to gambling in Australia. These men now are allied to the majority party in the country, so their influence could write new laws to limit the activities of online casinos inside Australia.