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Guide to Gambling and Betting Taxation in Australia

Engaging in gambling and betting activities can offer adults a pleasurable and stimulating experience as they search for favourable results and the potential for financial profits.

Gambling for fun is supported in Australia via various regulatory measures of the Australian government. It is made certain that no deteriorated impacts are made. Rather, it is just for the recreation and involvement of the players in a fun activity.

Also, it is ascertained that unless certain conditions are satisfied, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) does not consider gambling gains taxable income for most people. Generally, recreational gamblers who spend their time with online pokies for real money, sports bets and other games, generally do not have to pay taxes on their winnings. However, the winnings are taxable in those conditions where the player is making primary income only through winning these games.

What is gambling, and how is it defined in the IGA of 2001?

Gambling is a game people play for monetary benefits or other valuable items. It is a game of chance or a combination of chance and skill which the individuals play once the service manager of the Gambling centre provides the consideration to enter into the game.

As per the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) enacted in 2001 in Australia, "interactive gambling services" refers to facilitating gambling activities through digital communication channels, such as the Internet.

The Act mainly controls and prohibits providers not authorised to provide their services in Australia. The legislation aims to safeguard Australians from the negative effects of internet gambling, especially concerning compulsive gambling and minors.

Types of Gambling and Betting in Australia

Australia maintains the highest rate of gambling participation globally, with over 73% of its Adults engaged in various forms of gambling.

Various forms of gambling and betting are accessible in Australia.

  1. Sports betting and racing: This includes placing bets on equine racing, canine racing, and diverse athletic disciplines such as football, basketball, and cricket. Horse racing offers betting options such as win, place, each way, fixed odds, starting price (SP), top flu, best of 4/5, and 365Win/Centerbest.
  2. Electronic gaming/poker machines: These machines, commonly referred to as pokies, are common in pubs, clubs, and casinos throughout the country. Lately, even online establishments like SpinFever Online Casino have them as well.
  3. Lottery games: Powerball and Oz Lotto are among the commonly played games, with 30% of Australians participating.
  4. Other gaming: The activities encompassed are poker, casino gaming, football pools, interactive gaming, and minor gaming, including raffles, bingo, and similar games.

Difference between Betting and Gambling

Even though betting and gambling have some correlations, the IGA makes a distinction between them based on the stakes:

Gambling is the wagering of monetary resources on an unknown outcome, whereas betting is a deal between two people in which the one who makes a wrong prediction about an uncertain conclusion gives up something to the other.

"Gambling" and "betting" are commonly used interchangeably, although "betting" refers to a narrower component of gambling. Gambling is betting on an unknown result, such as a sports game or horse racing.

Some forms of interactive gambling, such as internet casinos, are banned by the IGA for Australian residents. However, betting on sports via authorised bookmakers is perfectly legitimate as long as it takes place before the commencement of the relevant athletic event.

Legal and Regulatory Framework for Gambling in Australia

It is important to understand that not all the activities under gambling are protected as leisure activities; some are prohibited, keeping in mind the social side effects. Only certain licensed activities, such as lotteries, betting, slot machines etc. are allowed in Australia.

The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA), a federal law, was enacted to protect Australian gambling players; on the other hand, there are various regulatory bodies in each state and territory that are responsible for granting licenses and regulating activities within their jurisdiction.

The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 is governed and executed by the body called The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). It regulates online casinos and betting to ensure enterprises are in accordance with the law while protecting the consumers or players. The (ACMA) oversees all casino gaming in Australia, from slot machines to table games like blackjack and roulette.

In addition to the Act of 2001, anti-money laundering laws have also been enacted to identify and report the suspicious activities in order to prevent money laundering cases in Casinos.

Taxation on Gambling and Betting System of Australian Taxation on Gambling

In Australia, the gambling taxation system includes various taxes and levies levied on various types of gaming activity. The type of gambling activity and the amount of money won affect the tax structure, which varies by jurisdiction.

Wagering activities, gaming machines (pokies), casinos, and lotteries are often taxed. Tax rates and structures can differ, with some based on a percentage of income or a combination of fixed and variable levies. Gaming tax income contributes to government money and is utilised for various objectives, including public services, infrastructure, and responsible gaming programmes.

Levels of Taxation on Gambling

Here is a general overview of the taxation levels on the net revenue of different forms of gambling:

  • Wagering and Sports Betting: 5% to 15%
  • Gaming Machines (Pokies): 25% to 50%.
  • Casinos: 20% to 35%
  • Lotteries: 5% to 15%

Taxability of Gambling Winnings in Australia

According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), Gambling gains are not taxed in Australia unless they are earned by professional gamblers. The Australian government considers gambling wins to be luck, not income. However, there are a few significant exceptions from this norm:

Professional Gamblers: Winnings may be taxable if the gambler is deemed a professional and betting is their main source of income. If the ATO determines that the gaming was conducted for profit, it may tax the earnings as income. Whether or whether an individual is a professional gambler is determined by how often, how much, and how systematically they bet.

Gambling as Part of Other Activities: Winnings from taxable activities like operating a casino or gambling are taxed. If a corporation promotes gambling as a bonus or an employee wins a gambling contest, the firm may be obligated to pay taxes on the person's gains.

Foreign Nationals: Winnings from gambling in Australia may be taxable for foreigners if Australia does not have a tax treaty with their country of residence. The ATO or a tax expert should be consulted by non-residents to ascertain their tax liabilities.

Claiming Gambling Losses on Taxes

Usually, Australian citizens cannot deduct gambling losses from their income. Australian law does not allow the deduction of gambling losses in comparison to gaming earnings, unlike the laws of certain other nations. Professional gamblers may have different tax duties and be eligible to claim deductions for gambling-related costs. Therefore, this only pertains to those who bet for recreation.


Slot machines, lotteries, and other forms of gambling in Australia brought in roughly 17 billion AUD in 2020. In addition, the gaming industry added over AUD 420 million to Australia's GDP in 2022.

The Australian government has adopted an innovative approach in its gambling taxation policy by charging casinos rather than gamblers directly. This is because Australians do not consider gambling to be a profession but rather a kind of recreation.

The gambling industry plays an important role in the development of the country; there are multiple regulatory bodies at the federal and state level which maintain the dignity of playing without affecting the vulnerability of the players.

Winnings from gambling and similar pursuits are not considered income but rather the result of a lucky streak. Gambling winnings, including those from lotteries, are thus exempt from taxes in Australia.

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