Gambling in Oceania

5 November 2021
Reading: 6 min

Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand take a stance on gambling that we have not seen in our previous reviews. The industry is tightly regulated, and there is a noticeable battle with problem gaming, yet many activities are completely legal even if supervised by the state. Let’s get deeper into the matter!

Gambling in Oceania


Gambling search trends in Singapore

Gambling in Oceania

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Gambling legislation in Singapore

Gambling activities are legal in Singapore yet strictly controlled by the state and various regulatory bodies. Tourists can access any gaming or betting facility in the country, but locals face some restrictions like a $100 casino entry fee. The state strives to limit gambling opportunities for its citizens in order to fight problem gaming, and at the same time to support the industry itself. This is a unique mixture of tough regulation and flourishing legal businesses.

Casinos exist in Singapore in the form of integrated resorts (akin to several other Asian countries). A full-fledged resort complex with a hotel, luxury shops, etc. may have a huge casino on the premises. The most well-known are Marina Bay Sands (a 15,000 square meters of casino space with 500 tables and more than 1,500 slot machines) and Resorts World Sentosa (which attracts ~15 million visitors every year).

Only licensed organizations can operate in Singapore, this applies to casino halls and betting shops, lotteries and online gambling. Singapore nationals can access licensed iGaming websites from the age of 21, yet there are many offshore providers that are happy to accept visitors from 18 y.o. or even younger. Most Asian sites accept Singapore dollars, but most players need to exchange them for euro or dollars. The Remote Gaming Act (2014) provides grounds for blocking sites, payment methods, transactions, and advertisements that do not comply with the rules. However, there are always proxy servers and VPNs that come to the rescue of the most ardent players.

Legal betting activities are described as betting on a race, fight, game, sport, or exercise. The only licensed operator is Singapore Pools, which is a subsidiary of the Tote Board.

Creatives for gambling campaigns targeting Singapore

Gambling in Oceania Gambling in Oceania


Gambling in Oceania


Gambling search trends in Australia

Gambling in Oceania

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Gambling legislation in Australia

Australians love gambling, slot machines, and sports betting. They are among the world’s most heavy gamblers and most regular losers (they lose ~24.9 billion Australian dollars every year). Over 80% of Australians admit engaging in some gambling activity or another on a regular basis. Pokies or slot machines are a weekly entertainment for many adults in this country.

Legislation-wise, the Australian gambling industry has been traditionally controlled by the Commonwealth and only then by the states. Gaming, racing, betting, and lotteries are all allowed but controlled separately by each of the 8 states. For instance, New South Wales issues casino licenses, the Northern Territory has a Gaming Machine Commission, etc. The full list of states and responsible bodies can be found on the Australian Parliament website.

Australia has state-owned, private, and non-for-profit lotteries that are licensed both by the state and by respective territories. Scratch cards, keno, and bingo are popular among the players. Dream home lotteries are also among the biggest hits: these are mostly charity draws to support various hospitals and funds and offer a designer home (sometimes with a car) or 1 million dollars as a prize.

The Australian sports industry has many recurring events throughout the year that spur sports betting. Here are some ideas for marketing campaigns.

November: Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, the Melbourne Cup – horse race;

January: Australian Open – tennis cup, Santos Tour Down Under – cycling race;

March–May: World Surfing Championships, Northern Territory’s Uluru Camel Cup – camel race;

August: Hamilton Island Race Week – sailing regatta.

Gambling is considered a public health issue in Australia with about 2% of the adult population having proved vulnerable to problem gaming. The spread on the Internet and, therefore, online gambling has only aggravated the problem. In acknowledgment of this, the Commonwealth Parliament has prohibited Australian gaming sites from providing services to Australians. However, it is not illegal for the citizens to access these websites, the responsibility is on the provider. And providers can legally provide gambling services to foreign players.

Creatives for gambling campaigns targeting Australia

Gambling in Oceania Gambling in Oceania


Gambling in Oceania

New Zealand

Gambling search trends in New Zealand

Gambling in Oceania

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Gambling legislation in New Zealand

In New Zealand we face a situation similar to that in Singapore – all gambling is legal unless explicitly prohibited. All activities are state-monitored and fall under the Gambling Act of 2003.

New Zealand’s gambling industry is predominantly state-owned, so a large share of profits returns to the state or the community. People in New Zealand can legally gamble from the age of 20, underage will have to pay a $500 fine if caught in a casino hall or placing bets. Most casinos completely ban the underage from the premises.

The gambling activities are divided into lotteries, prize competitions (game of skill), games of chance, and instant games (a win/loss determined before or the same moment the ticket is sold). There are also 3 classes of activities that have different requirements:

Class 1: run by individuals or societies, prizes and turnover under $500, no need for a license (but must follow all the provisions of the Gambling Act and other applicable laws);

Class 2: run only by societies, prizes between $500 and $5,000, turnover between $500 and $25,000, no need for a license (same as Class 1);

Class 3: prizes over $5,000, need a license from the Department of Internal Affairs.

No gambling activity can offer firearms, liquor, and tobacco products as a prize.

Online gambling is also legal only if it follows the state guidelines. For example, websites should be licensed by the state Gambling Commission and be registered in New Zealand. Foreign websites, however, cannot be controlled and are accessible to the locals.

Creatives for gambling campaigns targeting New Zealand

Gambling in Oceania Gambling in Oceania

Gambling in Asia and Oceania: conclusion

  • Unlike many Asian countries, Singapore is close to Oceania in gambling attitudes and regulation.
  • All three countries have a unique situation with a legalized yet strictly monitored gambling industry. This allows businesses to grow without provoking mass gambling addiction.
  • Despite gambling being legal in these countries, many players from Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore like to access foreign iGaming providers via VPNs and proxy.
  • When it comes to betting, racing, football, and sailing are the most popular local sports events along with the biggest international championships.
  • The region features many charitable and socially meaningful draws and lotteries that may be a great choice for marketing campaigns.
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