Gambling has come a long way since it began as one of mankind’s earliest activities – from casting lots and betting on property ownership, evidenced within Bible, Islamic and Buddhist scriptures, and within Chinese, Roman and ancient Egyptian cultures, to placing real money wagers from the palm of your hand on a sporting event taking place on the other side of the globe.
The prominence of gambling in Australian culture today has had both positive and negative influences, but without question, placing bets on certain events and games in the hope of earning back more money than one started with, is a practice that is here to stay. And one of the most popular methods of enjoying this activity is via smartphone and tablet applications – software which has revolutionised how people punt.
What types of gambling apps exist?
There are two different types of real money gambling apps worth discussing within this article:
1. The native application, which is typically available via app distributing platforms such as Android’s Google Play, Apple’s App Store and the Windows Phone Apps + Games Store.
Note: Sports betting is the only form of legal online mobile gambling in Australia. Australians cannot legally gamble online at casinos as of September, 2017.
Sports and racing wagering applications
Licensed and registered Australian and foreign online bookmakers are able to offer their services to Australian residents aged 18 years and older, via betting applications. So long as the sports gambling operator holds the necessary licensing requirements within the jurisdiction it is offering its services to, then marketing a native app is permitted (app must be free to download).
Operators promote their apps via application distributing stores for phones and tablets utilising certain operating systems (such as iOS devices), while also advertising non-market applications which can be installed for free directly via the operator’s official mobile website (for devices using operating systems such as Android). Non-market apps are advantages for devices utilising open source software. Some of the highest quality native sports betting apps available for Aussies to install for free, include:
- The official Sportsbet application
- The official CrownBet application
- The official William Hill application
- The official Bet365 application
- The official Luxbet application
These apps can be installed onto all smartphone and tablet devices, and offer hundreds of the most popular sporting markets for punters to wager on. Access promotions, secure AUD deposit and withdrawal options, the new ‘click to call’ live betting feature, and global racing (thoroughbred, harness and greyhound) events.
Alternatively, you can sign up for an account at the above bookmakers through their fully fledged mobile Web browser interfaces, which are near identical to the native app interfaces, and becoming a more and more popular option as mobile Internet technology continuously improves.
From the Internet mobile site, punters can opt to create their own Web apps; browser based applications which resemble native apps, with custom-named icons positioned conveniently on home screens, allowing users to bypass accessing the Web and having to type in URL addresses and passwords, and compatible with all data-enabled devices.
Casino and pokies gaming apps
According to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (which has been called for a review by the current Liberal government), real money online casino gambling is not permitted to be marketed to Australian residents. Thus, limited (if any) real cash casino gaming native apps exist within the confines of application distributing platforms, within the Australian market.
The Interactive Gambling Act 2016 which came into effect as of September, 2017 makes it an offence for all Internet casino gaming operators (both local and foreign) to offer their services to the Australian public.
For international players, it is a different story.
So if you wish to enjoy trying your luck and winning some real cash on interactive titles such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat, some of the most visually and audio advanced, interactive and graphically stunning pokies, video poker, craps, sic bo, keno, bingo and other favourites, it is pivotal to do so with a licensed, registered and regulated operator.
The following Internet casinos all boast slick, efficient, clean and user-friendly mobile/tablet interfaces, and are licensed by the official gaming commissions of the appropriate jurisdictions:
Register accounts (free of charge) with the above gaming sites directly via your portable device, securely deposit via one of the several globally trusted banking methods (and withdraw when necessary), make the most of new player cash bonuses and promotions, and enjoy hundreds upon hundreds of quality casino favourites.
Games are not only limited to random number generated computer-simulated titles, but also on offer are live dealer games which are run by professionally trained croupiers dealing you cards, spinning wheels and drawing lotto numbers, with the live action streamed in high definition direct to your phones and tabs.
Turn the mobile casino sites into custom-made Web apps – Just like with the mobile and tablet sports bookmaker sites, you can also create your very own browser based applications with the above casino gaming platforms. Once you have become a member via phone or tab, access your in-browser settings, navigate to the ‘add to home screen’ option (slightly different process for diverse operating systems), assign a name to the app icon and hit ‘create’. The newly built Web app will appear on your home screen, and you can now access the casino lobby directly, completely bypassing having to open your browser. Screen space and convenience are optimised to the maximum potential.
Real money poker applications
Online competitive poker games for real money is also deemed an ‘interactive’ activity by the IGA, and so operators are not permitted to market poker services to Australian residents. What is and is not judged to be interactive according to the IGA, is incomprehensible to the team here at Gamble.com.au; a term which we believe relates to all forms of Internet betting.
Furthermore, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2016 prohibits offshore operators from accepting Australian players. Before these gambling reforms were enacted, poker companies like 888 Poker accepted Australians. 888 Poker has dealt personally with celebrities like Australian cricketer Shane Warne, who himself was a spokesperson for, and advertised, the 888 real cash gaming services across diverse media outlets, like the Internet and television. On top of that, 888 Poker used to run qualifiers to the Aussie Millions event at CrownMelbourne.
International players of legal age can safely and lawfully enjoy playing online and mobile poker against competitors from around the world through the sites 888Poker.com and PokerStars.com, both of which own polished and stylish apps:
- Download the official 888 Poker non-market application for all smartphones and tablets
- Download the official PokerStars non-market application for all smartphones and tablets
Australians can no longer access the brilliant range of quality cash games, sit and go, pre-set and free-roll tournaments, and enjoy advanced game features and add-ons such as 3D poker and SNAP Poker. Nor the variants, which include Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 5 Card Omaha, Stud, Razz, Five Card Draw, H.O.R.S.E, Triple Stud, Badugi and more. International players can, however.
The future of interactive gambling
If you thought live dealer casino gaming was impressive (a format of gaming which will continue to be enhanced), then you will be blown away with what is in store just around the corner. Real money virtual reality gaming is no longer a pipe-dream, with devices such as Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus and Samsung’s Gear VR headsets becoming more well known by the second.
Players with these headsets will be able to enter virtual reality casino environments made to perfectly resemble genuine venues, while chatting and interacting with other players, and enjoying blackjack, roulette, the pokies and other real cash games. Sit down at the poker table, immersed by complete 360 degrees surrounding vision, and genuine sounds and music, without leaving your home.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2016 has made it very unlikely Australians will ever get to enjoy this. And while mobile sports and racing wagering remains legal, it makes little sense why it is illegal for operators to offer mobile casino games to keen Aussies. At Gamble.com.au, we advocate an entirely and strictly regulated industry for all forms of ‘interactive’ gambling, where local gaming businesses are taxed, just like current home-grown bookies are.