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Online Poker Australia ⋆ Best sites to play poker online 2022

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This article covers material about the state of online poker in the country of Australia, including recommendations on what poker sites allow AU citizens to play poker.

ProfessionalRakeback.com experts extensively research hundreds of online poker rooms. We provide recommended poker sites based on important criteria so that Aussie poker players can take a seat in a card game and place bets in a fair, safe, and secure gambling environment. In addition, our poker professionals have decades of experience in playing tens of millions of hands of real money online poker games and are veterans in the gambling industry.

As a result, the recommended poker sites listed on this page offer high-quality games of cards to a poker player at any level. They have achieved excellent scores on strict ranking factors, such as Aussie-friendly gaming, security, bonus offers, fast cashouts, game selection, AUD payment options, and many more. Check out this list of the best Australian online poker sites for cash games:

  1. Ignition Poker - Largest online poker site in AU + great casino.
  2. Coin Poker - Fastest growing AU poker site, 100% crypto.
  3. Juicy Stakes - Most rakeback, 36% weekly.
  4. SwC Poker Club - Most mixed games.
  5. Blockchain Poker - Free poker chips.
  6. America's Cardroom - Most tournaments, invite only.

Top 5 Trusted Australian Online Poker Sites

This section covers details and delivers in-depth information about the top-rated Online Poker Operators providing real money poker games to Australian players. By following the instructions and links in this article, you can register a new account and play online poker in Australia within minutes.

If you have trouble accessing any of the websites below, it may be because your Internet Service Provider (Telestra / Optus) has blocked a website's domain. There is an easy fix to this ISP-induced issue that involves changing your Domain Name Servers. This may sound complicated, however, all you need to do is read these instructions on how to quickly change DNS servers in order to access and play at any of the sites below.

1

IGNITION POKER

BONUS:
150% up to $1,500
★★★★
4.8 / 5

BEST AU ONLINE POKER SITE WITH THE MOST GAMES

NETWORK
PAIWANGLUO
REWARDS
FREE TOURNAMENT BUYINS
MORE INFO
READ REVIEW

Ignition is a relatively new entrant into the Australian internet poker scene, having only begun to offer its services to Australians in July 2017. Don't you get the mistaken impression that this is some kind of upstart or fly-by-night organisation though: Ignition is part of the Bodog Group, which has been running one of the world's largest online poker operations since 2004. Ignition and its partner sites share players, tables, and poker tournaments, and together they comprise the PaiWangLuo Poker Network. For most players, Ignition Poker is the best Australian poker site.

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2

COINPOKER

BONUS:
NONE
★★★★
4.6 / 5

BEST AU ONLINE POKER SITE FOR CRYPTO GAMES

NETWORK
STANDALONE
RAKEBACK
30%
MORE INFO
READ REVIEW

CoinPoker has no geographic restrictions regarding who can sign up, making it perfect for Australian poker players looking for an online poker home to place a bet. It's one of the growing number of online cardrooms utilizing crypto-currency to get around restrictive banking regulations and financial laws. It is the largest site that uses crypto both for cashier functions and for actual poker gameplay. Balances are held in Tether (USDT) and the tables are denominated in the same crypto coin.

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3

JUICY STAKES POKER

BONUS:
200% up to $1,000
★★★★
4.5 / 5

BEST AU POKER SITE FOR PROMOTIONS

NETWORK
HORIZON
RAKEBACK
36%
MORE INFO
READ REVIEW

Juicy Stakes isn't as large as Ignition; yet, it's a trustworthy place to deposit money for internet gaming. It's affiliated with the renowned Intertops group, a sportsbetting and casino organisation that has been in business for more than 30 years and has achieved an excellent reputation within the online gambling space.

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4

SWC POKER CLUB

BONUS:
NONE
★★★
4.3 / 5

MOST VARIETY OF NICHE POKER GAMES

NETWORK
STANDALONE
RAKEBACK
UP TO 50%
MORE INFO
READ REVIEW

SwCPoker is the current incarnation of the old Seals With Clubs, which was the first example of an online poker room to deal with bitcoins. Each chip in a poker game here is worth 1/1,000,000 of a bitcoin, and fiat currency, like the Australian dollar, isn't used at all. In recent years, SwC has started running games in Bitcoin Cash in addition to traditional Bitcoin.

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5

BLOCKCHAIN POKER

FREE:
100 CHIPS
★★★
4.2 / 5

MOST FREE-TO-ENTER "FREEROLL" GAMES

NETWORK
STANDALONE
RAKEBACK
UP TO 50%
MORE INFO
READ REVIEW

Blockchain Poker is a fairly new site that conducts its gaming in four crypto-currencies: original Bitcoin (BTC), forked descendent Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), which is itself an offshoot of BCH, and eCash (XEC). Each chip in any of these currencies is worth 1 satoshi or 1/100,000,000 of a crypto coin.

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6

AMERICAS CARDROOM

BONUS:
100% up to $1,000
★★★★
4.1 / 5

BEST NO-DEPOSIT BONUS FREE BANKROLL OFFER

NETWORK
WINNING
EXCLUSIVE OFFER
$10 FREE BANKROLL
MORE INFO
READ REVIEW

America's Cardroom is housed within the Winning Poker Network, a collection of sites that have seen its player numbers soar over the few years. It's now the ninth most popular place in the world for poker over the internet.

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PokerStars Info - Are they AUS-Friendly?

Logo of PokerStars

PokerStars was by far the most popular online poker destination for Aussies before the legislature prohibited this pastime, and so many players wonder if it's still open to Australians looking to get involved in a hand or two against opponents at the poker table. The short answer is: NO. PokerStars voluntarily exited the country, and so nobody from Australia can play at PokerStars for real money.

Some have attempted to circumvent this fact by using VPNs and false addresses to try to continue playing at the world's largest internet card room. However, doing so is against the terms and conditions of the poker site. This is specifically noted in a FAQ for Australian users that PokerStars maintains on its website:

Can I use a VPN or other tool to appear as though I am outside Australia and still play from within Australia?

No. Players who attempt to play for real money while they are physically located in Australia with the aid of VPNs or other technical workarounds will lose their playing privileges and/or funds in their account in accordance with Section 5.11 of our Terms of Service.

Unlike certain other operators who might not crack down too hard on VPNs and basically tolerate them with a wink and a nod, PokerStars is actually pretty strict in this department. There are countless reports on poker forums of players who were blocked by the company because it detected that they were accessing the games via VPN.

As a resident of Australia, the only way to participate in 'Stars game offerings is with the play money games. There are both cash games and tournaments that use these fake chips to conduct gameplay. Needless to say, it's impossible ever to cash these chips out, and even transferring them to another user is disallowed because, in the past, third-party marketplaces have appeared for private sales of play chips.

Play money games are good for learning rules and practising strategy, but that's about it. You'll learn the rudiments of position and advantage play, the right way to play a pair, calculating odds, and how to play on the button, but if you really want to properly test your Holdem or Omaha skills at the table with real cash blinds and a real money pot, you'll need to visit one of Australia's poker rooms that offer true real cash games.

Play Money Games Listed at PokerStars Game Lobby at Play Money-Only PokerStars.net

In August 2017, Poker Stars unveiled a new social online poker app for Australia called PokerStars Play. It offers Australians Texas Hold'em and Omaha cash games, Poker Clubs, trophies, Live Dealer table games, and slots. PokerStars Play is available to Aussies and residents of the United States on iOS and Android devices.

How to Decide Where to Play

The best Australian online poker site to play at is ultimately dependent upon personal goals and preferences; what is right for you, may not be best for someone else. Each of the online cardrooms we've highlighted above is top-notch, so we can't say definitively that one is “better” than another. Bearing this in mind, we can provide some guidance on which one is likely appropriate based upon your particular situation:

  • If you're looking for a large number of active games at stakes both high and low, then Ignition and Americas Cardroom would fit the bill well.
  • If cash is low at the moment, and you want the best opportunity to maximise limited financial resources, then Blockchain.poker could be the place to go.
  • If you wish to participate in the frenetic action of fast-fold poker, then Ignition and BlackChip Poker should satisfy your needs.
  • If a fast-clearing bonus and array of other promos entices you, then Juicy Stakes is the answer.
  • If you like unusual or non-standard styles of gameplay, then SwCPoker's myriad variants should appeal to you.
  • If you are an Omaha hi lo player looking for action, the sites with the most games are BlackChip and SwCPoker.
  • If you're a fan of rewards programs that offer a steady stream of free cash, then Juicy Stakes may be for you.
  • If you want to play in games denominated in Bitcoin, then SwCPoker and Blockchain Poker are two possibilities.

How Do We Rate and Review Online Poker Rooms for AUS Players?

  1. Open to Australia
  2. Reputation
  3. Payout Speed
  4. Aussie-Friendly Payment Options
  5. Game Quality
  6. Promotions & Bonuses
  7. Safety & Security
  8. User Experience
  9. Customer Support
  10. Other Gambling

You might be curious about our criteria for rating online poker rooms in Australia. Although countless data points contribute to our overall ranking of a site, there are several factors that are especially important when selecting a place to play internet poker in Australia. The factors that we give the most weight to in our reviews are:

Open to Australia

This is the most important factor of all because if a site doesn't even do business in Australia, then you can't play there regardless of how amazing it is. As Aussies well know, many of their favourite online poker sites pulled out of the country in the wake of the internet poker ban. Among the reputable offshore poker brands that have abandoned the country are 888poker, PokerStars, PartyPoker, Intertops, Chico Poker Network, and Winning Poker Network. Nevertheless, several operators still remain in the market, and so there are still places for you to enjoy card games online.

A Good Reputation

Because many of the most well-regarded organisations for online poker in Australia opted to exit the market, the remaining competitors tend to be smaller and less prominent. Among their number are those that are unsavoury and dishonest; yet, there are others that are reputable and above-board. We have evaluated all the remaining internet poker companies according to the reputations that they have earned over many years, not just in Australia but in other areas where they operate especially other “grey markets,” like the United States.

Speedy Payouts

With access to traditional banking and payout mechanisms oftentimes blocked, offshore poker providers have had to get creative in finding ways to process cashouts for their Australian customers. Fortunately, they have found an answer in Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. These financial innovations mean that most sites can process withdrawals in no more than a day or two – and we have certainly noted with dismay any firms that take much longer than this to fulfill their payment obligations. For 9 years ProfessionalRakeback has published a quarterly payout report with more information.

Payment Options for Australia

Beyond just the speed of payments, we also look at the different payment processors available. Some payment channels that are available in other parts of the world, like Neteller, are not possible for Australians. Others, like NeoSurf, are common in the Land Down Under while remaining obscure in the rest of the world. We approve of the sites that cater specifically to Australia in this way.

Quality Games

Though some Aussie poker fans have left the online game for good, there are still plenty of games to be found. We have looked at the calibre of the opposition, the number of tables and tournaments offered, and the particular poker variants and stakes available to judge how every site measures up in this department. The news is generally good here because when a room falls short in one metric, they tend to compensate by excelling in another.

Promos & Bonuses

The best Aussie-friendly internet poker rooms give back to their valued customers. Whether through deposit bonuses, weekly leaderboard races, rakeback, or other rewards, they offer valuable benefits to improve your bottom line. This is one area that can make a big impact on your profitability, and so we pay particular attention to it in our ratings.

Safety and Security

When dealing with offshore organisations beyond the reach of most law enforcement, it's especially critical to evaluate how safe your account will be and any security improprieties that may exist. To this end, we consider the licensing jurisdiction of each brand, the security measures it takes to keep your information protected, and any scandals or failures in this area that it might have had in the past. We play ourselves on all the rooms we recommend, and we will never direct you toward a disreputable or blacklisted site.

User Experience

Slow software, a confusing lobby layout, and device incompatibility can really put you on tilt, which is why we always strive to get an idea of what the overall playing experience is like before coming up with our ratings. This includes such details as mobile compatibility and the presence or absence of web apps that let you play in your browser.

Customer Support

Even at the best-run online poker establishment, there are bound to be occasional problems. The presence of live chat features, telephone support, email support, and customer forums are all strong indicators that a firm wishes to remain accessible and responsive to user needs. We research both the number of methods available for contacting the site as well as the amount of time it takes to receive a response.

Other Gambling

Though we're primarily card players ourselves, we'd be lying if we claimed to have never been tempted by the pokies or roulette wheel. If you're also a fan of multiple forms of real money gaming, then you'll be pleased at the fact that most of the prominent offshore poker sites also house casino games, and some of them host a sportsbook as well.

Online Poker Deposits and Withdrawals

Bills and Coins

Many Australian real money gamers wonder: What is the best way to fund online poker accounts and receive winnings back via cashouts? Paysafe, the owner of eWallet services Neteller and Skrill, has announced intentions to stop doing business with Australian customers while credit card acceptance rates hover between 50% - 65%. For a payment method that's free from government control and the meddlesome interference of banks and other financial institutions, perhaps crypto-currency is the way to go.

Bitcoin is the largest such digital currency, and it's supported by all the rooms on the list above. You can learn how to start using Bitcoin for online poker with our thorough guide to Bitcoin real money gaming. Other popular virtual coins that serve much the same purpose are Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. They're accepted at fewer internet poker destinations than Bitcoin is. However, they do confer certain advantages, like faster transaction times and lower fees. Read our Ethereum gambling guide and our page describing Bitcoin Cash poker sites for all the relevant info.

One thing to note is that we recommend Coinbase as an exchange where you can buy crypto coins. When it's time to translate BTC, ETH, or BCH back into AUD, Coinbase won't work. That's because this exchange is open to Australians only for crypto purchases, not sales.

You can instead sign up for CoinJar, a company that was founded in Australia although it has since moved to London's financial district. It can be used to both purchase and sell bitcoins. Upon ID and bank account verification (it takes up to three business days), you'll be able to sell your BTC and have the funds deposited to a bank through the BPAY system. There's also a CoinJar Swipe debit card that converts bitcoins into AUD and can be used at any merchant compatible with the EFTPOS system and any Australian ATM.

Remember though that using an intermediate wallet (like blockchain.com) between CoinJar and any gambling sites is necessary to prevent transactions from being subject to undue scrutiny by the company, which views online gambling with disfavour.

Another option is LocalBitcoins.com, which facilitates private trades for Bitcoin. Because of its escrow system, users are protected in case other parties don't fulfill their obligations.

Bitcoin ATMs are another option although there are only a few dozen throughout the country, and they're mainly clustered in major cities, such as Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne. ATM firm Stargroup has announced plans to add thousands of Bitcoin-friendly ATM machines in Australia, so many more locations will become available in the future.

Several years ago, retail network Blueshyft teamed up with Bitcoin Australia to make it possible to purchase BTC at more than a thousand retail locations. After setting up a wallet on the Bitcoin Australia website, customers bring cash to a participating newsagent and exchange it for Bitcoin, which is then sent to the appropriate crypto wallet address.

Map of Australia

When and Why Poker Sites Left Australia

On March 21, 2017, the Parliament of Australia voted to prohibit real money online poker in Australia, and the text of the bill was finalised and passed on Aug. 9. However, this doesn't mean you can't still play Texas Hold'em and the other games you love.

Despite the departure of 888poker, PokerStars, PartyPoker, Intertops, Chico, WPN, and other leading online gambling firms, there are still sites that are willing to take a chance by offering poker games to Australians. Some of them are upstanding, honest companies, but as you can imagine, there are others that are not as good. We've reviewed the existing operators to identify where to find the best online poker in Australia so that you don't have to try to randomly luck in and find an upstanding room purely through chance. Rest assured, all of the sites mentioned are safe and trusted, for if they were not, we would not include them here and instead put them in our list of blacklisted sites.

As regards you, the individual player, Australian poker law is clear: There are zero penalties attached to personally engaging in online wagering yourself. It's solely the organisations that provide the games that are subject to enforcement actions.

This means that you can participate in internet-based virtual card games, while wagering real money, without worry or fear of prosecution. This is very similar to the US online poker situation, and for your reference, in that market, no person has ever been charged, indicted, prosecuted or convicted of playing poker privately as a citizen. Nor will they. The political will does not exist to do this in any Westernised country especially not one such as Australia: the country with the highest gambling rate in the world.[1]

Perhaps one of the reasons Aussies love gambling, and particularly a skill game such as poker, so much is the fact that gambling wins are tax-free for all but a handful of players. Thus, if you possess the necessary skills, you can earn yourself a nice income from online poker without having to hand anything over to the Australian Taxation Office.[2]

Some people think they need VPNs, offshore addresses, foreign bank accounts, and the like to enjoy Australian online poker, but the truth is that this is all unnecessary. At most, you may need to perform a simple 2-minute modification to your computer's DNS tables. You can find out more about what a VPN is, how to quickly modify DNS and other questions about how to play Australia online poker by clicking here to go to the FAQ at the bottom of this article.

Plenty of online poker operators gladly accept Aussies as customers, and you can use your own name, address, and other personal information when setting up your account. These companies are acting under the framework of well-established and litigated World Trade Organization guidelines that require member countries to allow cross-border access to each other's markets for virtual card games as well as all sorts of other goods. In fact, the USA attempted to flout these rules and was sanctioned by the WTO when it denied Antigua and Barbuda access to online gambling markets [3]. Thus, when you register at one of the recommended sites below, you will not be breaking any laws, and so there is no need for you to engage in convoluted rigmaroles designed to obfuscate your whereabouts.

In fact, there are advantages to using offshore Australian poker sites, as cited below by one of their biggest critics no less!

Tabcorp is one of the main companies responsible for the 2016 Interactive Gambling Amendment legislation that has forced you and other Australians to stop playing on PokerStars, 888, Party Poker, etc. Tabcorp unwittingly outlined some major advantages for Australians who wish to use offshore Aussie-friendly poker sites in their “Submission to the Impact of Offshore Wagering Review.” On page 4, section c, they wrote:

Some people may also choose to use... offshore wagering providers for reasons of secrecy... offshore wagering providers are not subject to Australian laws or regulatory oversight, so individuals who are prohibited or excluded from betting on an event... can do so undetected. This also applies to high profile individuals who may not want their betting habits subjected to regulatory scrutiny. [4]

By their own admission, it is advantageous for Australian citizens to gamble with foreign operators. At least for those who value privacy and care not for the “nanny state” and/or “Big Brother” peeking over your shoulder. By using crypto-currencies, you can further insulate yourself and your private activities from those who would intrude upon your liberties.

Without any further ado, here are our top poker site picks for Australians.

Online Poker and Australian Law

The basic legal framework for handling online poker in Australia was established in the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act,[5] which sought to protect Australians from the harms caused by online gambling.[6] Some forms of wagering were explicitly permitted, like sports-betting and lotteries. The bill was intended to have online poker in Australia banned, along with most other forms of virtual gambling, but there were inconsistencies and ambiguities in the wording of the legislation. Due to this fact, foreign online gambling providers were able to offer their services like normal without being hit by lawsuits.

After a review of the existing laws in 2015, the Australian Parliament finalised in 2017 the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill,[7] which modified the 2001 law to close up some of the loopholes and make it tougher to circumvent. This amendment had broad-based support, and efforts by Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm and the Australian Online Poker Alliance [8] to thwart it proved futile.

It's now illegal for offshore gambling firms to offer their services to Australians or to advertise their products in any way. There are exceptions for properly licensed sites, but no licensing regime is in place or is laid out for poker in the text of the amendment. It will probably be years, maybe even a decade, before any such regulatory framework can be contemplated, debated, instituted, and inaugurated.

The good news is that there's nothing in the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act or the subsequent 2016 Interactive Gambling Amendment that directly targets Australian players. The entire focus of the laws and their penalty provisions is on the organisations actually providing poker games over the 'net. Rank-and-file players themselves are perfectly safe as they pursue their favoured pastime. For more info on the various anti-gambling statutes and the way they work in practice, check out this overview of online poker law in Australia.

Some have speculated that there are powerful and interested forces behind the ban. None of the revenue generated by offshore poker sites in Australia finds its way into the pockets of either the Australian government or the existing companies offering various forms of regulated gambling.

Tabcorp and billionaire James Packer both control vast swathes of the AUS gambling market, and they both have the resources to make themselves felt on the political scene. They and others like them may have been pushing for the speedy adoption of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill, and this might be one reason why it was signed into law before the results of the parliamentary inquiry into online poker [9] were released. The final result of these antics could turn out to be a ring-fenced, regulated environment for internet poker in Australia with licences only issued to locally run organisations.

Will the Ban Be Overturned?

The long-awaited Senate report on the participation of Australians in online poker was finally presented Oct. 18, 2017. The report was based on submissions collected from gambling firms, anti-gambling advocates, and hundreds of ordinary players.

It's understandable that organisations involved in representing the gaming industry and individual players would testify in favour of the legalisation of online poker, but actually, there was broad support for this policy change from groups that are not specifically involved with the game. For example, the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance and MyChoice filed a joint submission in support of the legalisation of internet poker.[10] They based their argument on the principles of consumer choice, personal responsibility, and freedom from burdensome governmental restrictions on individuals and businesses.

Yet, there was plenty of pressure coming from the other side of the argument too. The Australian Gambling Research Centre[11], for instance, made the argument that poker players were several times more likely than other gamblers to become addicted. This study had its issues, most notably the fact that it did not distinguish between brick-and-mortar and online poker, but it undoubtedly influenced the way legislators felt about the matter.

Many were optimistically envisioning a proposal to legitimise online poker, but they were to be disappointed. The tone of the report was pretty conservative, and it counseled those in power to not relax the gaming ban pending further study of the subject and the adoption of the National Consumer Protection Framework.

The Framework was finally completed in November 2018 after much negotiation and back-and-forth among the various stakeholders, but it's expected to take 18 months from this time for all the measures to be fully implemented. Because it requires the cooperation of the federal, state, and territorial governments along with many other parties, the process could take much longer. We feel that players shouldn't hold their breath waiting for a state-supervised internet poker regime to appear.

Why Did Some Sites Leave and Some Remain?

The managers of each online room have had to make some tough choices. Those that are licensed in certain areas of the world can only maintain their good standing with the authorities by avoiding grey and black markets, like Australia. Companies that are publicly listed must steer clear of even the appearance of doing anything unsavoury lest they be subject to legal action from shareholders.

On the other hand, the Australian market is pretty lucrative, so there are some corporations that are willing to run the risk of falling afoul of the law. These are private corporations hosted and organised in offshore jurisdictions. They have put together defensible arguments purporting their legality based not on Australian law but on International trade agreements and World Trade Organization rulings (of which Australia is a prime member).

A similar phenomenon occurred in the United States after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006. This lead to a series of internationally based World Court hearings and government vs government lawsuits. In one example, The World Trade Organization ruled against the USA in favour of Antigua and Barbuda and ordered the US to pay damages to the island nation.[12]

Those same rulings are a basis for the legal right of offshore poker sites to offer games to Australian players. Needless to say, there are today several virtual poker rooms that operate in the U.S. while still dealing fair card games and sending payouts speedily to winners. The same thing has happened in Australia regardless of the wishes of compromised politicians currently in power.

Regulated Online Gambling

As previously mentioned, there are no online poker or casino providers that are legally licensed to offer their services to Australians. Nevertheless, there are other forms of betting that are permitted. The laws against online gambling have exceptions for racetrack betting, sports wagering, and lottery sales conducted over the internet.

Sportsbooks, betting exchanges, and racebooks that wish to offer these services must still be duly licensed by an Australian gambling regulator. Somewhat unusually, there is no federal regulatory agency that awards such licenses. Instead, each state and territory has its own license-issuing body.

However, it's not necessary for an entity that provides online betting platforms for Australians to obtain licensure in each jurisdiction that it transacts in. Rather, it can receive a single licence, which will be good countrywide.

The governmental organisations that approve licenses for internet gambling across Australia are:

  • Northern Territory Licensing Commission[13]
  • The ACT Gambling and Racing Commission[14]
  • Liquor & Gaming NSW[15]
  • Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation[16]
  • South Australia Liquor, Gambling & Lotteries[17]
  • Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission[18]
  • Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation[19]
  • Western Australia Racing, Gaming and Liquor[20]

Most of these agencies are mainly concerned with live gaming, like casinos and racetracks, and have only a handful of license holders who conduct their businesses online. However, the Northern Territory is an exception. When we look at a list of Australia-licensed online betting operators maintained by the ACMA[21], we see that a solid majority of them are regulated by the Northern Territory Racing Commission.

Many prominent international firms, like bet365 and DraftKings, have been lured in by the low fees and reasonable tax rates that are key features of a Northern Territory gambling license. It's also true that the Northern Territory has, in the past, been viewed as a hands-off regulator although the NTRC has cracked down on what it perceives as violations of the rules from time to time.

In addition to following the demands of the Northern Territory or another state or territorial government, these corporations must also comply with the restrictions imposed on them federally. For instance, sportsbooks are not allowed to offer in-play betting, and there are various advertising regulations that all licensed bookmakers must follow.

Australia Banner Divider

History of Poker in Australia

Old Fan Tan Game in Progress1890s Fan-Tan Parlour

Gambling games of all types date back to the beginning of Australia, but poker didn't dominate the scene in the 19th century like it did in America. Rather, a coin game called Two-Up was the most popular game of chance along with betting on horse races. Chinese immigrants brought with them a variety of traditional gambling pastimes, like Fan-Tan. In the 1950s, poker machines, or “pokies,” were legalised in New South Wales, and they soon spread to the rest of the country. Despite their name, they have little to do with poker as such.

Melbourne Crown CasinoCrown Casino in Melbourne

In the late '80s and early '90s, a small community grew up around the Adelaide Casino and its once- or twice-a-year poker events. But it was destined to be the Crown Casino in Melbourne that would become the place to go for card room action. Its Australian Poker Championship started in 1998 with the Limit Hold'em Main Event costing $1,000 to enter. As the buy-ins and prize pools grew over the years and the Main Event switched to No-Limit Hold'em, this series came to be known as the “Aussie Millions.” In 2017, the prize pool exceeded $7 million.

Joe Hachem
Joe Hachem, 2005 WSOP ME Champ

Internet-based poker took off in Australia after one of the Crown regulars, Joe Hachem, became the champion of the 2005 Main Event of the WSOP in Las Vegas. This led to a larger public awareness of the game, similar to the “Moneymaker effect” in the United States a couple of years earlier. Poker became a pretty popular and mainstream activity, and Australian online poker proliferated and flourished over the following decade.

Australian residents spend more per capita on gambling than any other country on Earth, making Australians highly coveted customers for internet poker sites. Even after playing poker over the internet was “banned” in Australia, plenty of card rooms still exist that happily serve Australians because the ban only legally applies to operators within the country of Australia, not offshore operators and not individual citizens of Australia.

This was amply proven during the COVID-19 scare in 2020 when casinos and clubs were closed down. Australians merely headed to international online sites. These internet poker and casino companies, which the Australian government considers illegal, saw highly increased traffic figures. [22]

Timeline of major events relating to Australian poker, online and offline.

Online Poker Australia FAQ

The subject of internet poker for Australians is one that's full of obscure corners and esoteric wrinkles. It's completely understandable if you have questions that have not yet been addressed. Look below for the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding this field.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it is a method by which some players might attempt to obfuscate their actual locations by altering their IP addresses to appear to be located somewhere other than Australia.

One of the opponents of the recent bill to end Australian online poker is Senator David Leyonhjelm. During an emotionally charged speech, he said:

If the legislation passes, I would like to take this opportunity to give some advice to online poker players. Notwithstanding the risk of offshore hosts, screw the government: get yourself a VPN and an offshore account and carry on as you were. And I wish all of you the best of luck.

We appreciate the senator's counsel to do what's necessary to preserve individual freedoms against unwanted and unneeded government encroachment. Fortunately, however, there's no need to get fancy with VPNs, offshore bank accounts, phoney addresses, and the like. In fact, taking this course of action may expose you to violating the terms and conditions of the sites you play at and thereby jeopardising your account balances.

Yes, you can play online poker without any legal fear. NONE of the laws that Parliament has passed to try to eliminate internet gaming are directed at players.

All the fines and possible prison sentences that are attached to online gambling target those who manage and run the websites, not ordinary players. Therefore, you can open up internet poker tables to your heart’s content free of worry that you’re doing something wrong.

No, there are no government-regulated online poker sites located in Australia. This isn’t because major gambling companies believe that it’s not worth it to offer their services in the Land Down Under. Nor is it because licence applications have been denied through some fault of the applicants.

The truth is that there does not currently exist any licensing regime for interactive poker in Australia. That’s right – having prohibited unlicensed online poker and casino businesses, legislators failed to establish any mechanism for such licensing to occur. Even the most squeaky-clean organisation cannot obtain a license. This is why offshore poker is really the only available choice.

Online poker confers several benefits that are absent or reduced in the live poker realm. First of all, you can play from virtually anywhere on your mobile rather than just while physically present in a designated card room. You can even play in bed wearing your pyjamas if you so choose.

Secondly, internet poker is less expensive than live games. Whereas the rake in Australian card parlours is typically 10% of the pot up to a max of $10, $15, or even more, the rake online is almost always no more than 5%, and the cap is generally less than $5.

Finally, there are more games taking place 24/7 over the internet. No matter what form of poker you prefer, it’s almost a given that you will find more tables running online in that format around the clock than in your local poker room.

Well, it depends. If you’re lucky enough to find an agent you can trust and the club he or she represents has enough games running for your tastes and your agent remains in the good graces of the club owner, then, yes, you might have a great experience with an online poker club that employs agents.

However, this is a few too many “and”s to make these clubs a viable choice for most people. Moreover, since the overall player experience depends so much on the particular agent involved, it’s impossible to really issue recommendations that are valid for every prospective player.

You need only look at the case of “NYPokerKing” to see what happens when shady and/or foolish individuals are entrusted with thousands of dollars of players’ funds. This episode serves as a cautionary tale for those looking to dabble in the confusing world of agent poker rooms.

There are quite a few ways of moving money around online for poker. Credit cards, bank transfers, person-to-person transactions, and other well-known payment methods are supported. The exact options supported will depend on the specific site you intend to play at.

Now that internet poker is frowned-upon by officials in Canberra, though, the old-school financial sector sometimes blocks real money gaming funding mechanisms. Thus, a growing proportion of users is turning to innovative mechanisms such as crypto-currency.

ALL of the poker sites described on this page let you deposit and withdraw via Bitcoin. Indeed, at a few of them, BTC is the only way to make transactions.

Bitcoin gives you full control over your finances without having to put up with meddling by nanny-state bureaucrats. Furthermore, fees are low, and transactions are completed speedily.


 Please gamble responsibly! 

If you suspect that you have a gambling problem, cannot control your urges to gamble, spend your rent money on poker, or any other degenerate behaviour, we highly suggest that you seek Gambling Help Online's counsel.[23] If you are not certain if you have a problem and are unwilling to contact GHO yet, please at least take the time to read this document from Financial Counselling Australia where you can read real-world case studies of problem sports bettors.[24]


References

  1. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150610005010/en/GBGC-Country-Gambles
  2. https://community.ato.gov.au/t5/Second-job-or-hobby/winning-from-gamble/td-p/26036
  3. https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds285_e.htm
  4. https://www.tabcorp.com.au/TabCorp/media/TabCorp/Media%20Releases/Tabcorp-submission-to-the-Impact-of-Illegal-Offshore-Wagering-Review.pdf
  5. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C00607
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling_in_Australia
  7. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r5755
  8. http://australianonlinepokeralliance.com.au/
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_poker
  10. http://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=070af1a3-ad67-45e1-b3e1-3e1f9408d55f&subId=514147
  11. https://aifs.gov.au/agrc/
  12. https://sbcnews.co.uk/northamerica/2017/08/04/antigua-calls-wto-resolution-us-droppin
  13. https://nt.gov.au/industry/licences/licensing-nt-online
  14. https://www.gamblingandracing.act.gov.au/
  15. https://www.liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au/
  16. https://www.justice.qld.gov.au/about-us/services/liquor-gaming
  17. https://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/liquor-gambling-lotteries
  18. https://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/liquor-and-gaming/gambling
  19. https://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/
  20. https://www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/racing-gaming-and-liquor
  21. https://www.acma.gov.au/check-if-gambling-operator-legal
  22. https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/illegal-online-casinos-boom-during-covid-19-lockdown-20200616-p552yl.html
  23. https://www.gamblinghelponline.org.au/
  24. https://www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/docs/duds-mugs-and-the-a-list-the-impact-of-uncontrolled-sportsbetting/