There are several factors that effect how Australians decide where to play online poker. The unique historical, political, technological and legal conditions in the country have led to some interesting traffic analytics. Let's dig deeper into some of those things now.
What poker sites get the most traffic in Australia?
There is only user statistics data for two poker websites in this region. It is likely there are Australian's playing on other poker sites through VPN but this is difficult to measure. This article details the
increase in VPN usage
due to data and privacy concerns.
Established in 2017, Ignition is the little brother brand of the two gambling site giants Bodog and Bovada. Ignition, Bodog and Bovada all share a poker player pool, so you are playing against millions of opponents around the world.
Ignition also make the tables anonymous, so me or my opponents don’t have a screen name. This stops people from using statistics programs to track their opponents play and get an unfair advantage. With these sorts of restrictions in place, Ignition is really trying to aim their games at players who just want to have a bit of fun. This is refreshing when you compare them to some of their competitors.
is a smaller site that still accepts players from Australia. Founded in 2009, it's predecessor was Cake Poker. The low site traffic means they don't get as many tables up and running like on a bigger sites. The software is also not at the same level as their competitors.
The history of online poker in Australia
Online gambling took off in Australian in 1996 when Centrebet began offering online sports betting. Two years later,
started offering real money online poker for the first time ever. Live poker had been around for decades, so the leap to online poker was never in question.
In the late 1990s, the federal government brought out the
Interactive Gambling Act 2001
. The IGA outlawed online gambling sites from accepting and advertising to Australians. Not all types of gambling were banned however, with sports betting, race betting and lottery websites given the OK.
There was no punishment for Australian citizens participating in online gambling. Only the providers were affected under the legislation.
In 2017, the Australian government increased their powers to act against unlicensed offshore gambling websites. Some of the largest poker sites in the world were operating in the country without a license. When these powers came into effect in the country, the big sites left.
A few of the smaller sites like Blackchip Poker remained in the country for a while. But in 2018, mostly all sites had left.
Ignition Casino started accepting Australian's in July 2017. This was before the Interactive Gambling Act reforms passed parliament. Ignition was previously only operating in the United States.
At the end of 2019, the Australian government started getting ISP providers to
block unlicensed gambling sites
that refused to leave the country. Most sites have continued to operate, either by encouraging the use of VPNs or by creating several new domains.
These sites have however seen a consistent monthly decrease in player numbers since the domain blocking started. The government has stated since the 2017 change of legislation, there has been a reduction in unauthorized online gambling.
Is it legal to play online poker in Australia?
As mentioned in the history section above, the IGA ban only applies to providers of gambling websites. It does not ban or punish Australians for using online gambling websites.
Although it is not illegal for Australian citizens to use unlicensed websites, the government strongly discourages people from using them. The government reports it has received several complaints about unlicensed offshore websites.
It should also be noted that if the government blocks a casino domain with your money on it, you won't be able to retrieve your funds unless you have a VPN or the site creates a new domain.
Cryptocurrency is Becoming a Leading Deposit Method for Australian Poker Players
The unique situation in Australia for online poker sites has created disruptive shifts in what banking methods used for online poker. Australian's are increasingly starting to play online poker with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
With the rapid adoption of cryptocurrency globally, poker sites like Ignition Casino are shifting towards handling the majority of deposits and withdrawals with Bitcoin. Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are currently offered on the site. Deposits remain instant and free for credit/debit cards but withdrawals aren’t. Here’s a look at the withdrawal method time frames.
It shows that Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash can be used for free withdrawals that take up to 15 minutes. Real money withdrawals can take up to 15 days, so Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are significantly faster.
There are several local cryptocurrency exchanges in each country, or you can use one of the bigger global exchanges like
. These exchanges let you use credit card or bank transfer to buy it. If you want to sell it you can then transfer your local currency back to your bank account.
What are some of the pros for cryptocurrency?
There are often no fees to to deposit by a casino but a bank could make charges or restrict payments to online casinos. Bitcoin is decentralized, so no bank can stop someone doing what they want with their money.
There is usually a small fee to send bitcoin. This is for maintaining the security of the Bitcoin network.
What are some of the cons for cryptocurrency?
Not backed by government:
Take care with transactions:
Practice good security:
Other Transaction Methods are Still Accepted
The usual methods are often still accepted by an online poker room in Australia like credit cards, bank wire transfers, e-wallets, mobile payments and instant banking.
Some banks no longer allow transactions to poker sites in Australia but many still do.
While some casinos may accept your credit or debit cards, you should consider if this is a suitable option for this type of transaction.
Bank Wire Transfer: