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Table of contents
    Meet our author
    Betting expert Elizabeth Winnie

    Through a ranking system and serious and consolidated standards, we make a point of evaluating the best authorized betting sites in Australia. This information will not only allow you to have access to the best bonuses, but also to the best conditions to make the best sports bets online.

    Updated: 2024-02-13

    Australia is a country of states, and each of these states is free to make its own laws, as long as they do not violate federal regulations. In other words, what is legal in one state, for example, may not be in another. This also applies to betting: if you are looking for betting websites Australia, you should search for them separately in each state, as the scope and rules of legal betting will be different in each region.

    This requires residents of the Australian Capital Territory to focus on ACT betting sites. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is the smallest state in the country and covers just 880 sq. mi. Just to have an idea, we can say that it is even smaller than Luxembourg, one of the smallest countries in Europe. A Legislative Assembly of 25 members prepares the ACT laws, and sports betting (online & offline) is considered legal, like in many other Australian states. This means that ACT betting sites can provide legal and licensed services in this region.

    We have prepared this article for two purposes: first, we would like to give you a list of the best ACT betting sites you can play with as of 2024. But that's not only our goal: we also plan to tell you everything you need to know about sports and horse racing betting in the Australian Capital Territory. let's start with the list we mentioned: the following brands make the best ACT betting sites that can appeal to punters of all types.

    • Leon Bets
    • Bambet
    • Betsevo
    • PlayUP
    • PlayAMO

    You can start trying your luck right now by opening an account at any of these ACT betting sites. But even if you do, we recommend that you continue reading, as we will share a lot of information below that will be invaluable to punters in the Australian Capital Territory region.

    Province / State NameAustralian Capital Territory
    Population456,652 as of June 2022
    Biggest citiesCanberra
    Popular sports
    • Rugby Union
    • Soccer
    • Rugby League
    • Australian Rules Football
    • Basketball
    • Motor racing
    • Golf
    • Cricket
    • Tennis
    Best clubs
    • AFL - Queanbeyan Tigers
    • Soccer - Belconnen United, O'Connor Knights
    • Cricket - ACT Comets
    • NRL - Canberra Raiders

    Australian Capital Territory sports betting

    Let's start with the basics. The Australian Capital Territory legalized land-based casinos, lotteries, sports betting, and horse racing betting in 1999 with the “Gambling and Racing Control Act”. The only requirement is that the operators that will provide these services have an ACT license. The ACT Gambling and Racing Commission (ACTGRC) has been established to issue and oversee this license. This situation still continues: a company that wants to offer PayPal betting or casino gaming services of any kind must first apply to the Gambling and Racing Commission and obtain a license.

    The Commission will not only issue this license but will also be able to oversee it. Likewise, it is also authorized to resolve player complaints and collect taxes from operators. Currently, there are two different licenses for horse racing betting and sports betting. An operator can only take one or both. In other words, there are ACT betting sites that offer only horse racing bets, as well as ACT newest betting sites that offer both sports betting and races: the content and scope of the service are determined according to the license obtained.

    Contrary to popular belief, getting a license for horse racing gambling sites is not easier or more practical. It can even be said to be more difficult when compared to a sports betting license. This is because ACT betting sites that offer races must also meet the “Canberra Racing Club Thoroughbred” and “Canberra Harness Racing Club” requirements. In other words, it is not enough to just meet the Gambling and Racing Commission requirements, licensees must also show that they comply with the rules and regulations of these two organizations.

    Betting licenses are issued for a period of three years and are surprisingly inexpensive. Obtaining European-based gambling licenses can cost hundreds of thousands of Euros. ACT betting sites, on the other hand, pay about 3,000 AUD as an application fee and the license fee is only AUD 14,201 per year. In other words, it is possible to obtain an Australian Capital Territory betting license for only around 20,000 AUD per year. However, the license requirements are strict: applicants must have been living in the ACT for the past 10 years and their background checks must be clean.

    Horse racing in ACT

    ACT betting sites that offer racing services are regulated by another law: the Racing Act 1999. The Gambling and Racing Control Act, which we mentioned above, regulates who the licensee will be and the general conditions of the license. However, the details of horse racing bets are regulated by this law of the same date. Racing Act has given the regulation and supervision of many issues to the “Canberra Racing Club Incorporated”. This organization determines the race rules, race types, and the breed of horses that can participate in these races. It also has the authority to determine the special rules that must be followed by ACT betting sites that want to obtain a license for racing. For example:

    • It is up to The Canberra Racing Club to approve the result of a race. It can freely decide, for example, whether a race is considered valid or not.
    • A bookmaker may advertise only at places permitted by The Canberra Racing Club.
    • Prior to licensing, Racing Club reviews the application of all ACT betting sites and may reject them if not satisfied.
    • ACT betting sites must show the Racing Club a guarantee to prove they can pay punters. The type or amount of this warranty is determined by the Club.

    As can be seen, there are many prerequisites that ACT betting sites that will offer racing services must comply with, and it can be said that this job is much more difficult than just getting a sports betting license. For this reason, it is possible to divide ACT betting sites licensed to offer racing services into two groups:

    • Global brands. These are ACT betting sites managed by international brands that have the time and budget to follow all the necessary procedures and deal with bureaucracy.
    • Brands with a history in the industry. These do not have as big a budget as the global brands, but they are local companies with a history in the horse racing industry. In other words, they know how The Canberra Racing Club works and they have many contacts in the industry.

    This is why there are not many ACT betting sites with horse racing licenses, although the license fees are not very high. Anyone who wishes can gather approximately 20,000 AUD and apply for this license, but if you are not a global brand or have no acquaintances in the industry, The Canberra Racing Club will not approve your application for bureaucratic reasons. And it will not be possible to obtain a Gambling and Racing Commission license unless the Club gives this approval.

    Gambling and betting laws in the ACT

    There are multiple laws that bind ACT betting sites, and they all regulate different aspects. In this context, licensed ACT betting sites must comply with all the following laws:

    • Interactive Gambling Act (1998): This is a federal law and has been updated regularly from 2011 to 2021. This law applies to all Australian states.
    • Gambling and Racing Control Act (1999): It is the law that makes ACT betting sites legal and establishes the relevant commission.
    • Racing Act (1999): This is the law that regulates the rules of horse races and the license conditions of ACT betting sites that will offer this service.
    • Race and Sports Bookmaking Act (2001): This is a law that regulates race and sports betting licenses in detail. It has introduced many new terms that ACT betting sites must comply with and has regulated various sanctions for unauthorized betting operators.
    • Race and Sports Bookmaking Regulations (2001): It is a law that brings special conditions for race and sports betting licenses. Telephone betting, which replaces live betting, is defined in this law. (ACT betting sites cannot offer live betting services online, but they can accept them over the phone.)
    • Gambling and Racing Control (Code of Practice) Regulation (2002): This law brought new rules in terms of problem gambling & responsible gaming and made it obligatory to offer self-exclusion tools to all ACT betting sites.
    • National Consumer Protection Framework (2018): This one has determined 10 basic rules that online merchants and therefore ACT betting sites must comply with. Due to these rules, as we will explain below, ACT betting sites are prohibited from offering promotions such as bonus bets and welcome packages.

    Timeline of changes in ACT legislation

    • 1999 – Online & offline betting became legal with the Gambling and Racing Control Act. It was decided to offer licenses to ACT betting sites and the Gambling and Racing Commission was established to manage this process.
    • 2001 – License conditions were updated with two new regulations and phone betting conditions were defined.
    • 2002 – Offering self-exclusion tools became mandatory for ACT betting sites.
    • 2017 – The laws of 1999 were updated by adding greyhound racing rules.
    • 2019 – ACT betting sites are prohibited from offering promotions due to the Federal National Consumer Protection Framework.

    Gambling licenses issued by ACT Government

    We mentioned above that the number of licensed ACT betting sites is not very large, and the reason for this is the strict rules of The Canberra Racing Club. You can understand this better when you look at the number of gambling/betting licenses issued by the ACT government. As of 2024, only “Tabcorp” and its affiliates hold this license. In other words, although there are a couple of ACT betting sites on the market, they are all Tabcorp-owned brands. In this regard, the Australian Capital Territory is considered to be the state with the fewest gambling licenses overall.

    Tabcorp was founded in 1994 and is Australia's largest gambling company. It is traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and has approximately 5,000 employees. It is a company that provides both online and offline gambling services and is active in other Australian states too. Tabcorp brands include:

    • The Lott: It is a company that owns many different lotteries such as TattsLotto, Powerball, and Oz Lotto.
    • Keno: This traditional casino game is only legally available online in the ACT.
    • TAB: It is the group's sports and horse racing betting brand.
    • SKY Racing: This is a network of radio and TV channels.
    • MAX: Produces equipment, software, and games for land-based casinos.

    Tabcorp has a net income of over AUD 5.7 billion and is currently the only brand approved by The Canberra Racing Club. But it's not the ACT punters' only option: you can still play on international bookmaker sites from the Australian Capital Territory, as in any other state. In other words, there are hundreds of ACT betting sites online that accept Aussie punters. Although they are licensed from different countries, they also accept Australian players and, in many respects, it is possible to say that they offer a much more satisfactory service than Tabcorp. This is especially true in terms of bonuses, payout options, and racing odds.

    If you live in the Australian Capital Territory, know that you are not limited to the TAB brand: you can find many ACT betting sites on the internet that are ready to accept you as a member. And, if you choose among the ACT betting sites we recommend, you can get the best possible service.

    Are bookie bonus bets legal in the ACT?

    This may come as a surprise but licensed ACT betting sites are not allowed to organize promotions such as bonus bets, welcome packs, free bets, and reload bonuses. The source for this is the “National Consumer Protection Framework” (NCPF), which went into effect in November 2018. This is a federal law and we mentioned in the introduction of this article that Australian states can make their own laws only as long as they do not violate federal regulations. In this regard, all states, including the Australian Capital Territory, must comply with the NCPF requirements.

    NCPF has set 10 rules for consumer protection and one of them is the gambling advertising ban. This is a broad term and encompasses anything that might encourage consumers to gamble. This includes offering a credit, voucher, or reward (for short, a bonus) to a consumer in exchange for opening an account or continuing to bet. All ACT betting sites are prohibited from offering bonus bets or any other promotion after May 2019 and this ban still applies. So, no, bonus bets are not legal in the ACT as of 2024.