Brief But Definitive History of Australian Casinos
The Australian public isn’t one to shy away from gambling and it is currently estimated that over 80% of Australian adults participate in some form of gambling – the highest rate of gambling in the world. However, to truly appreciate how much this country enjoys this exciting pastime, we need to go back to the beginning of the 19th century after the first British crews landed on Australia’s beautiful shores, and European forms of gambling rose in popularity. From the first pokies to the rise of the online casino craze, Australia’s history of casino gambling is as long as it is prestigious.
Gambling Begins in Australia
The earliest record of an official gambling event in Australia was at a horse meet that occurred in 1810 at Hyde Park in Sydney. This was just 40 years after Captain James Cook made the first landing by a British crew on Australian shores, bringing foreign culture, trade, and popular European-style gambling games. As such, games such as roulette and blackjack became popular amongst Australians long before the first official casino opened its doors. By 1880, the first lotteries were officially organised and thus began Australia’s illustrious commitment to gambling.
Rise of Casino Game Popularity
Long before players were enjoying the full range of NZ online casino games at their favourite online casinos, players in the New South Wales territory of Australia were enjoying the fruits of the NSW Gaming and Betting Bill which was passed on 22nd August, 1956. Gambling machines, known as pokies, were permitted in local pubs and clubs, and the venues were inundated with players looking for a piece of the action. Pokies rose in popularity and prominence in the 1960s and these machines, whether physical electronic machines or their online counterparts, remain the most popular casino game choice amongst Australian’s today.
1973: The First Legal Casino
After many years of campaigning for a licence, the first official Australian casino opened its doors in Sandy Bay in Hobart, Tasmania. The Wrest Point Casino Hotel opened on 10th February, 1973 and was built in the hopes of attracting tourists to Tasmania as the region’s natural beauty and scenery wasn’t well-known elsewhere. The opening of the Wrest Point Casino Hotel proved to be the catalyst behind Australia’s booming casino industry, and 12 more casinos were opened across the country over the years that followed.
The Current Casino Landscape in Australia
There are presently dozens of casinos peppered across the country of Australia, as well as several casinos operating on cruise liners along Australia’s coastlines. There is different legislation regarding gambling, both land-based and online, depending on the region, but the legal gambling age across the country is 18. The casino industry in Australia generates millions of dollars annually and casinos such as the Melbourne’s Crown Casino, Star Sydney Hotel and Casino, and Adelaide Casino are celebrated aspects of Australia’s culture and heritage.
The Rise of Online Casinos
When the first online casino opened its virtual doors in 1994, the internet was set ablaze and soon there were many options to choose from. As a result, and to protect their land-based casino interests, the Australian government passed the Interactive Gaming Act (IGA) in 2001 to regulate the growth of online casino play in the country. However, it must be said that playing online casino games is not illegal in Australia, provided the online casino in question operates offshore.