Is Horse Racing Betting Legal in Australia?

Horse racing is a sport that dates back to ancient Greece when was first introduced at the Olympic Games. Since then, the sport took off on a global scale and many countries started organizing horse races.

Horse racing popularity skyrocketed after broadcasting races on live TV. Even though horse racing is exciting to watch, it wouldn’t be the same without betting. Betting on horses happened in the early 1600s in the UK and since then it this sport became a top choice for bettors all over the world.

The popularity of the sport forced many countries to soften their regulations on horse racing betting and the same thing goes for Australia.

Australia is one of the countries with deep history of gambling. Looking back, we can see the first forms of betting on sports in Australia at the end of the 18th century.

Many people believe that horse racing betting was picked up from traders that are passing through the region in the early 1700s.

Whatever the case, the official records show that the first-ever horse racing event was organized in 1810, in Hyde Park. Nowadays the most famous horse racing event in the country is the Melbourne Cup, which takes place between October and November.

When it comes to betting, Australia is a liberal country where almost all forms of gambling are legal. With that said, every country has different regulations and restrictions on what an operator can offer, just to prevent the addiction to gambling. However, since the government cannot tell an adult how to spend his or her money, you can bet on everything in Australia.

Is Horse Racing Legal in Australia?

As we mentioned before, almost all forms of betting are legal in this country. The government was changing the law a few times in the past making it more clear for businesses and bettors.

The last change from the IGA was made in 2016 and 2017 where they decided to add some restrictions to online gambling.

First of all, there were restrictions to foreign operators that weren’t allowed to accept players from Australia and all of the existing accounts had to be closed. This change is just to keep the money from flowing out of the country.

Alongside this drastic change that made online betting more difficult for Australian bettors, the government introduced a few more regulations, such as:

  • Operators are not allowed to offer free bets to Australian customers as a type of advertisement
  • Online bookmakers were forced to allow bettors to voluntarily set betting limits just to avoid financial lost

If you are a horse enthusiast, there is some good news. Fortunately, the IGA left out horse racing in their previous regulations and passed the authority to make some changes in the law to individual states.

So, opposite to the USA, where some states have it illegal and some have only recently changed their law to approve it (for example Michigan), Australia has it legal for a couple years in all country.

So, it is safe to say that most forms of online horse racing betting are allowed in Australia, with the exception of live-in-play betting, which is still forbidden.

This means that you can bet on horse racing events on Australian websites without fear of breaking the law. With that said, it is unfortunate that live betting is not possible, but you’ll still be able to place bets on some of the most popular horse racing events in the world.

Future of Betting in Australia

There are some speculations that the government might choose to change some of the IGA laws and loosen certain restrictions. Government officials are talking about making a change in live betting and make it available for Australian customers.

Additionally, since some live casino games are now not available to Australian customers, everything will change if they decide to loosen the restrictions on live gambling. However, this is a change that requires time and we cannot expect it to happen overnight, especially for a topic as sensitive as gambling.

Final Words

Most forms of betting are legal in Australia, including horse racing. The only limitation is in terms of live betting and signing up on foreign gambling websites, which is a bummer since it would be nice to have more betting options and the ability to choose the bookmaker offering the best odds.

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