While online gambling is fast becoming the preferred mode of play for punters all over the globe, many Australians remain unconvinced about Internet casinos. This is understandable – new technology always has its doubters, and quite often the sceptics are justified. So what is it about real money casino sites that concerns a lot of Aussie players?
Australian gambling laws
Despite the fact we boast the largest per capita gambling scene on the planet, Australia’s gaming legislation is rather strict compared to other nations with legalised betting. However, it is nowhere near as Draconian as some people think, especially when it comes to online wagering.
Much of the doubt surrounding the legality of Internet gaming stems from the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act (IGA). This is a set of laws which prevents Aussie-based and offshore gaming operators from promoting their online products in this country. As such, many Australians are under the impression that it is illegal to play casino games online.
Au contraire. While the IGA seeks to prevent gambling sites from offering their wares to Aussie citizens, it has very little to do with the punters themselves. To the very best of our knowledge, not a single gambler has ever been prosecuted under the IGA in relation to online casino gaming.
Of course, laws aren’t set in stone, and anti-gambling lobbyists are always pushing to take away a punter’s liberties. But right now, and for the foreseeable future, it is 100% legal for Australian adults to bet real cash on the Net, whether at an online bookmaker, a poker site, or a Web casino.
Banking security and Internet fraud
While gambling is all about putting your hard-earned cashola on the line, many folks feel that Internet betting is an unnecessary risk. How do you know your money is safe? How can you trust the operators with your personal information?
Unfortunately, some of those concerns aren’t entirely unfounded. In the early days of Internet gambling, back in the 1990s, shonky operators exploited the exciting new format to prey on unsuspecting bettors. Funds were plundered, identities were stolen, and a lack of proper regulation meant there was very little policing of such crimes.
Over the last two decades, however, things have improved out of sight. Australian online casinos are fully licensed and regulated by governmental gambling authorities, while respected industry watchdogs like eCOGRA (eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) carry out regular audits and game testing on thousands of registered operators. All the best real money gaming sites use a certified SSL (Secure Socket Layer) digital encryption, which is the same technology banking institutions employ to keep your cash and sensitive details out of harm’s way.
On top of that, the leading Internet gaming operators support a vast array of secure deposit and withdrawal options for the Australian dollar. We are talking about trusted household names such as Visa, MasterCard, Entropay, Neteller, Skrill, POLi, Paysafecard and Ukash, as well as old-school methods like direct bank transfers, money wires and cashier’s cheques. With easy, secure options like these, funding and cashing out your online casino balance is now as safe and convenient as paying the bills via your Internet banking account.
RNG reliability and fairness
One of the big gripes we hear from the traditionalists is that online gambling couldn’t possibly match the authenticity and trustworthiness of land-based casino games. Some people are suspicious of the technology and doubt whether it really emulates the random, chance nature of live gambling.
That was once a serious issue in the online gaming world. With the scene in its infancy and new operators always cropping up looking to snag a share of an emerging market, there were more than a few casino sites which used bad random number generators (RNGs) – the complex engines which determine outcomes in all electronic casino titles. This resulted in games that were either predictable, and thus corruptible, or biased towards the operator.
But the World Wide Web can be a very small place at times. Word gets around, and dodgy operators and software developers are found out almost instantly. Unreliable RNGs seldom see the light of day in modern times anyway, as all popular casino websites and online poker rooms undergo thorough analysis from independent third-party testers such as iTech Labs – the world’s premier RNG certification agency.
Quality of online casino games
A perceived lack of quality in Internet casino games is also a big turn-off for some. Certainly, not all titles are winners – there are some games out there still which are boring, or outdated, or not very well designed from a user perspective. But the overall standard of Web-based casino games is always improving, and these days there are hundreds of top-shelf titles available at the best Australian gambling sites.
Just check out the online pokies releases from top developers like Net Entertainment and BetSoft, which boast the kind of HD graphics and interactive gameplay features you could only dream of finding at your local pub or RSL. These games aren’t just pretty to look at, either; titles like Mega Moolah, Cosmic Fortune and Hall of Gods offer enormous progressive jackpots, often paying well above AUD $1 million.
The pokies is a predominantly digital format anyway, so you lose very little (and gain a whole lot of freedom) when you play online. The same is true of video poker. All the classic VP titles are available on the Web, including staples like Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild and Joker Poker, and they offer similar value to your favourite old video poker machines. Some are even better – Microgaming’s popular version of All Aces Poker has an expected return of 99.92 per cent, for instance.
Australian blackjack and roulette players also have loads of high-class options – more than you will find at a modern brick-and-mortar casino. The Microgaming Gold Series titles – available at most leading real cash casinos online – offer heaps of game variety, including more than a dozen variants of 21. Besides ultra-smooth graphics, intuitive gameplay interfaces and flexible betting limits, these games are also way better value for money than those at most Aussie casino precincts. Take Classic Blackjack Gold, for instance – a single-deck game with a house edge of just 0.13%.
Then there’s the live dealer format, which allows you to wager on real, hand-dealt casino games thanks to High Definition video streams overlaid with clever betting interfaces. These rooms are havens for real money blackjack, roulette and baccarat players who want both the convenience of online play and the authentic feel of a land-based game. They are also great for high-stakes gamblers, with some of the most generous table limits on the Web.
Why play at real money casino sites?
No matter what your poison is, gaming online is never quite the same as doing so in the flesh. But the top-ranked AUD casino sites offer hundreds of safe, reliable and highly entertaining titles, many of which (in our opinion) far outshine their land-based counterparts. It’s legal, it’s secure, and it’s only getting better – so why not try out one of our recommended online casinos for Australian players?