Australia is one of the countries that does not have clear cut legislation in relation to online gambling, which has resulted in the establishment of an iGaming black market. This carries huge financial risks for the players, even though they are not liable to fines or jail time. The risk comes from their monetary transactions with such casinos that could then take away with the players’ funds.
That is not to suggest the complete lack of worthwhile online casinos in Australia. The contrary is rather true, and we can safely state this due to our expertise within this market. We review casinos on a daily basis, striving to provide you with insights before you move on and play pokies or casino games for real money.
We are grateful for all our readers that keep coming back to the site and read our in-depth reviews, but we appreciate that there is a limit to the time you can invest to that. Thus, by reading our top 10 pointers to identifying a sketchy casino in Australia, we hope that you will manage to remain safe online even without our help!
1. Less than 5 Providers
Software providers, also known as developers, are the ones responsible for the games that you play at online casinos. The casino itself is nothing without them, as it is merely a website with bonuses and an active license.
When talking about powerhouses in the online casino niche, we refer to platforms that collaborate with 20+ gaming providers simultaneously, offering to their registered users a huge range of gaming options (usually over 3,000).
Each provider tends to be recognized for different elements; for instance, NetEnt has very high RTP slots with stunning bonuses, while Playtech tends to offer progressive pokies based on movies and action characters. Other developers solely produce live dealer games, and so on.
Thus, finding an online casino with a range of online providers will ensure that you will be able to try out a range of different games. Further, due to the work these iGaming providers put into their craft, you will be able to try out new games daily, as long as the site has various partnerships.
In Australia, many online casinos offer games from a single provider, which tends to be Reel Time Gaming (RTG). This developer is not bad at all, but it offers around 200 pokies, 10 progressive games, and more or less 20 casino and live dealer games. Picking an online casino exclusively powered by RTG will most likely end up dull and repetitive for you.
Therefore, we advise that you only play at casinos with a variety of software providers, setting the bar at minimum of 5, with names such as the ones that we list below being some of the ones to look out for:
- Pragmatic Play – huge range of fixed jackpot pokies and live dealer games.
- Evolution Gaming – live game shows and numerous live table games.
- Big Time Gaming – classic slot machines and Megaways pokies.
- Red Tiger Gaming – innovative bonus rounds and high quality modern slots.
- Microgaming – top notch table games and progressive jackpot networks.
2. Very Impressive Bonuses
Casino bonuses are great, as they provide players incentives to keep coming back to the site and earn something extra for their buck. For instance, some casinos offer twice the value that a punter will deposit into the casino, multiple times in the row. Other casinos might even offer exclusive free spins on top of the cash bonuses.
Despite the Terms & Conditions that such bonuses carry, which can be normally met within some reasonable amount of playtime, many online casinos try to stand out through the use of superb bonuses. Some Aussie casino sites will even offer 500% deposit bonus multiple times, sometimes up to $10,000 or more.
Although these bonuses might seem like a great way to turn the odds in your favor and make some crazy amounts of cash through online gambling, usually, such offers try to compensate for a lack in other areas.
When a casino offers a ridiculously generous bonus, then, it is most likely that it will have Ts Cs in place that will make it almost impossible for the player to withdraw real cash. In other cases, the casino might outright refuse to payout its winners, and just scam as many players as possible until it shuts down. In any case, if you see a very high welcome bonus, be cautious and think twice before joining the casino. Legit online casinos tend to usually offer bonuses like the following:
- 100% deposit bonus up to $200
- Up to 200 free spins
- $10 no deposit bonus
- 20 free spins no deposit
- 75% – 125% match bonus up to $500
3. No Live Games
Even though we are mainly discussing pokies platforms in this article, live dealer games and live slots are the latest innovation of the industry. In 2023, real life gambling does not provide anything more than online casinos; as long as the latter offer real dealer tables besides RNG-based slots and casino games.
It does not really matter if you are a pokies fan, if a casino site lacks in live dealer games, then you might feel disappointed when you are in a mood for some roulette wheel action or if you want to try your card counting skills in blackjack.
Always think ahead and pick a casino site that will not only cover your current needs but also your future ones.
4. Bot Customer Support
A trend that has come into our attention in 2023 is the lack of real customer service team at some casinos. Many platforms in Australia offer exclusively bot-customer support, whereby the chatroom is trained to be polite and attentive, but only in relation to a number of pre-determined topics.
When gambling online, you might face several problems. The bot will, most likely, successfully direct you into the relevant tab of the casino – but it will not really understand the depth of your concern. A game might have lagged, or you might require help to add a banking method. An automated support system will just share a set of steps with you, instead of actually helping you along the way.
Australian players spend a lot of money on online gambling and casinos, so the site should at least use some of those funds to provide top 10 rated services to its users.
5. Lack of Company Information
All licensed platforms are required by the law to provide their registration number and company information at the footer of the casino website. These should be always displayed, indifferently to the tab that a player is using.
The information that should be included are the operating company official name, its license registration number and valid dates, as well as their office address. Many online casinos in Australia do carry a license but hesitate to add such details in their website, so that they are not tracked by the Australian authorities and receive a fine for ignoring the current laws of the country.
However, if you choose to play at such casino, it is very likely that you will not have a third-party to ask for help if you face any issues with the casino. We strongly advise that you stay away from casinos that do not display the required details in their footer, and only stick with those that are transparent about their official details.
This way, you will be aware, for instance, about a site that is operated by a provider that has received many complaints by players or that does not carry a license at all.
6. No Official License
We have touched upon this already, and it should be obvious to most experienced casino players, but the importance of an active gambling license cannot be emphasized enough. An online casino without a license is like any other website on the Internet. It is like paying a site to buy shoes, which does not actually have any shoes available.
If an online casino carries no license, there is no guarantee that they will comply with the required standards of the iGaming industry; such as paying out your wins, offering fair and tested games, protecting your money and personal information, and so on. In contrast, if you face issues in relation to any of the above areas at a licensed online casino, then you could contact the licensing authority and report the casino. Then, the casino will either be forced to resolve the issue or face fines/loss of their official license.
Most Aussie online casinos are licensed through the Curacao Government, as this is the only organization that does not forbid operators to offer their services in our country. It is not the most trusted authority, but even a license of these origins adds a layer of security.
Nonetheless, you might encounter unlicensed casinos that do indeed follow the best practices; this will most likely be the case with brand new casinos, but you better stay away from those as well; since nothing stops them from refusing to pay a big sum of cash, in case of a lucky jackpot win, for example.
7. Not Publicly Audited RTP
Most online casinos in Australia do not follow this standard to be honest. Nonetheless, if you read our casino reviews, you will be able to find platforms that are audited at random times by independent bodies in terms of their games’ fair operations. This practice has been established due to some malpractices of licensed sites, which used to tamper with their games. For instance, a game that carried an RTP of 96%, could be tweaked so that it has an RTP of 70%.
This practice is still prevalent in physical casinos, but due to the establishment of various official authorities, casino sites hesitate to perform such actions. The best way to know that you are playing at a casino with fair chances as set by the industry, is to only play at online websites that allow independent bodies to test their games in terms of fairness.
8. Single Payment Method
Strong online casinos tend to offer 20+ banking options, so that all players can find something that suits their needs. Amongst these, the most popular tend to be debit and credit cards (Visa/MasterCard/Maestro), eWallets (Skrill, Neteller), bank transfers, prepaid cards (PaySafeCard, Neosurf), and most recently cryptocurrencies (bitcoin, Ethereum, litecoin, etc.).
According to the method that a player selects, there is a varying degree in relation to the transactional limits, processing times, safety, security, and overall convenience. Therefore, finding a casino that has multiple methods will ensure that you will not only manage to deposit money, but also be able to withdraw funds.
Aussie casinos tend to have a limited range of options. Still, you can easily locate one of our casinos that allows deposits and withdrawals through eWallets, bank transfer, paper cheques, and cryptocurrencies. Avoid casinos that will only offer you one option at all costs, since you might fail to verify this method and therefore loss all your funds.
9. Lack of VIP Program
We touched upon the promotions at online casinos and things to look out for, but there is another area that you should pay attention to. Loyalty and VIP schemes can be a source of huge rewards for players that stick with a particular online casino and keep coming back to it.
You might be able to exchange points for cash, earn free spins, receive withdrawable cash, and many more perks. On top of that, these schemes tend to be following the casino theme, offering an added element of excitement.
Still, many online casinos just offer a standard loyalty scheme, whereby players can transfer points to cash at an outrageous low rate. Many Aussie casinos do not even bother to set up an actual themed VIP section, and just offer a CPs scheme.
If you are a high roller or the type of player that sticks with their original choice of platform, then read carefully into the rewards you could be getting for playing at the same online casino for a long time.
10. Available Only in Australia
It is often the case with some operators to be solely available for registration and real money gambling in Australia. This would not concern us in the case of another country, but Australia is one with really complicated laws. Thus, operators who only allow Aussie punters to sign up and play casino games are likely to be sketchy, aiming to steal players’ cash.
On the other hand, if a site is available globally, especially if it also has a large player-base, then it is unlikely to try and scam players. Further, sites that operate in Europe always carry a license, and therefore have a higher rate of safety.
11 Pointers to a Great Pokies Site
So far, we have touched upon the elements that determine the safety and worthiness of an online casino, based on weak areas that we have noticed across various online casinos in Australia. Still, it is equally important to be aware of the elements that make a platform stand out from the rest due to its positive elements. Many of these are the exact opposite of the ones that we touched upon above; the list is just here to save you time:
- Official license.
- Company and license information listed on the website.
- Pokies from multiple software providers.
- A minimum of 3 live dealer games.
- Various ongoing bonuses & a solid VIP scheme.
- A rewarding deposit bonus, ideally accompanied by some free spins.
- Publicly audited RTP and site tested in terms of safety by independent bodies.
- Easy to use interface and mobile friendly website.
- Available in various countries, without any major complaints.
- Friendly and attentive customer service offered by real agents 24/7.
- A minimum of 3 deposit and withdrawal methods for Australia.