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Capital Territory Online Casinos

Capital Territory Online CasinosUpdate 2017: The Australian Government has now outlawed online casinos in the country. This means that operators are not licensed nor are they legally entitled to offer gambling services to Australian residents. Any sites that still accept Australian players are in direct contravention of Australian laws. Players funds may not be safe with these operators as they have no means of retrieving their funds in the case of any legal disputes. VegasSlotsOnline.com does not endorse any of these casinos and strongly recommends that Aussies avoid them until online gaming is regulated in the country.

The below article has been left online for informational purposes only.

The Australian Capital Territory (better known as ACT) is the smallest subdivision in Australia, but in a national sense, it may also be the most important. As the seat of the federal government and the national capital, ACT is the home of the Australian Parliament, which meets in Canberra. The city is home to most of the people who live in the territory: only about 385,000 people make their homes here, though a lot of commerce and business is based here, making it a centre for economic growth in the country. The entire ACT is contained within the borders of New South Wales, but it is administered as a (mostly) independent region.

The capital is also important when it comes to the development and regulation of the gaming industry here. Despite its small size, laws that are changed in this territory often reverberate throughout the nation, and (obviously) anything passed by the Parliament of Australia can change the nation’s landscape in an instant. That can go for land-based industries, as attitudes about pokies, racing, and other activities change, and the online casino world, where new reviews of old legislation have the potential to cause major shakeups.

Small Territory, Big Gaming Footprint

Given the ACT’s small geographic size, one might imagine that there would be a lack of gaming opportunities here: after all, it would be very easy to travel to an NSW location and get your fill of betting there. But like every other state and territory in the country, the government here has been mindful of the revenue that can be gained by embracing the gaming industry, and you’ll find a full range of options available to gamblers.

The centre of the action is undoubtedly the Casino Canberra. It is the only land-based gaming resort that has been built in the ACT, opening in 1992 (though the current, permanent location opened in 1994) after permission was given by the Federal Government and maintaining its monopoly here ever since.

This venue has a few quirks that set it apart from most casinos in Australia. For one, it is the only such resort in the country that is not licensed to operate pokies. Just about everything else is offered here, though: there are 39 table games that cover options like baccarat and blackjack, and a fairly large poker room offers cash games and tournament play. In addition, there is a TAB sports lounge that offers bookmaking services to visitors. In the future, poker machines may be added as well, though that is contingent on being able to purchase licenses to host the games.

Speaking of those licenses, there are plenty of pokies to be found elsewhere throughout the ACT. As is true throughout the country, many clubs and hotel host gaming machines, with the territory now offering a total of 5,200 poker machines – almost all of which are currently in various clubs throughout the region. Games are allowed to be active for 19 hours a day, and there is a maximum bet of $10 per spin, but that still allows most players to get a full pokies experience at a local club.

Residents in the ACT can play the lottery through the New South Wales Lotteries, which are run – as are almost all other lotto games in the country – by Tattersall’s (or Tatts). These include syndicated versions of national lotteries like Oz Lotto and Powerball, as well as the three weekly lotteries run by the NSW on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, which are also available throughout most of the nation.

Horse racing in the territory is mostly handled by the Canberra Racing Club, the largest such organization in the area. The region is not known for hosting races of great national or international importance, but there is still a full calendar of events at Thoroughbred Park. Perhaps the best known race held here is the Black Opal Stakes, a Group 3 race for two-year-old horses. Greyhound racing has historically also been available in the ACT, but as we’ll discuss later, recent developments have made it all but certain that the industry will no longer be welcome here in the very near future.

Online Sports Betting Regulated, Other Games Unlicensed

Back in 2001, the Australian Parliament passed a series of regulations known as the Interactive Gambling Act (or IGA). To this day, it is these laws that set the boundaries for Internet gaming throughout the country, including in the ACT.

One of the principle provisions of this law is a complete prohibition on offering most forms of online gambling to Australians, one that applies to both Australian and international firms. At the time, it was said that these provisions were necessary to protect the country against the presumed ill effects of further gaming expansion.

It is important to note, however, that these laws apply only to the companies that would offer such games, not to individuals. Australians are not breaking any laws by playing for real money on any online gambling site; the writers of these laws were careful not to criminalize individuals who just wanted to place a bet or spin an online pokie from time to time.

The result is the treatment of Australia as a “grey market” by much of the online gambling industry. That means that while companies know they cannot receive licensing here, they also feel it is safe to accept customers from the country, feeling that consequences are unlikely to come. As a result, while some brands have decided to stay out of the market in order to keep their regulatory record as clean as possible, many others continue to allow Australians on their sites to this very day. These include many highly trusted names in the industry, giving players here plenty of excellent choices if they wish to play pokies, table games, poker, or just about anything else.

It is also true that some games are exempted from the IGA, in part because they are not seen as “interactive” in quite the same way. The most notable example comes in the realm of sports betting, where licensed operators are allowed to offer the same bets online as they would in their retail locations. The only exception to this rule is in-play betting – that it, bets placed on a game or match that is already in progress – which must be made in person or over the phone. Lottery products can also be sold online, but the interactive restriction is still in place: in this case, that means that you won’t be able to purchase instant win or scratch off games from a Tatts web portal, but tickets for major drawings are fair game.

Lawmakers Take Hard Line on Greyhound Racing; Online Review Likely to Spark Change

The ACT government has recently made headlines due to their strong stance against greyhound racing. While the sport has long been popular throughout much of Australia, recent investigations that have uncovered abuses and mistreatment of many of the animals involved have brought on new calls for further inquiries and actions to be taken. While many states have said they believe their local industries are largely dealing well with such issues, NSW officials recently moved to ban the sport beginning in July 2017.

Soon after that announcement, ACT lawmakers announced that the capital territory would also be following in their footsteps. Just hours after the NSW came down with their decision, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that “there is no future for this industry in the ACT.” A spokesperson for Canberra Greyhound Racing has said that they will likely take this issue to a High Court battle, but it is unclear how much success they would have in overruling the Government’s decision.

On the national level, perhaps the biggest issue facing the gaming industry is a recent Government review of overseas betting sites and the increasingly out-of-date IGA. There were several major areas of inquiry during the review, not the least of which was consideration of what should be done about in-play betting on sporting events. Ultimately, the decisions was made to recommend a continuing ban of such betting through the Internet, much to the chagrin of regulated bookmakers, who say that such a rule simply puts them at a disadvantage compared to foreign sites who don’t suffer from the same prohibition. The Government is also likely to close loopholes that have currently allowed operators to largely get around this prohibition on mobile phones.

However, officials have also said they will take steps to crack down on the overseas firms that are operating illegally in the country, a move that was much more warmly received by regulated bookmakers. The main effort would be the use of “disruption tactics” to impede their efforts to take place from Australians: that could include asking ISPs to block access to a list of sites, or working with banks and other financial institutions to cut the flow of money to and from these foreign companies. In addition, it has been recommended that the directors of these firms be barred from entering Australia in the future.

It is hard to say what the net effect of these new regulations will be. However, similar tactics have only been partially successful in other markets, so it seems unlikely that these casino and poker sites will entirely disappear from Australia anytime soon. As a result, we expect that Australians in the capital territory will continue to enjoy a wide range of regulated and unregulated Internet gambling options for some time to come.

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