The gambling landscape has changed significantly as a result of Covid-19. Most sport has been suspended, and casinos, pubs and registered clubs are closed to the public.
The NSW Gambling Survey 2019 showed that 16% of people in NSW gamble on electronic gaming machines (pokies). With venues shut, these gamblers may look at alternative gambling activities.
During this time, we may see an increase in online gambling. Some people may look for online casino-style games that could be operating illegally and are prohibited under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
Illegal gambling services include:
- online casino-style games
- online slot machines
- online scratchies
- online betting on the outcome of lotteries or keno (‘synthetic’ lotteries)
- online services that provide ‘in-play’ betting on sports events
- online wagering services not licensed by an Australian state or territory
- These services may look legitimate, and many people will be unaware that they do not have important customer protections.
The Office is already aware of people in NSW who are having very negative experiences with illegal gambling services. The risks include:
- not being able to access funds
- accounts being closed after winning
- only being granted access to a small portion of winnings
- unauthorised funds being withdrawn from the customer’s bank account.
In the coming months, the Office will work with our community partners and other government agencies to help educate people about the risks of illegal online gambling.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has more information about illegal gambling services and how to report them on their website: