The first online casinos started to sweep the internet in 1995. The majority of these virtual casinos, which did have online pokies, were situated in locations such as the Bahamas and European countries. Nevertheless, in 1999 Australia jumped on board and online pokies were available to Australian players.
For a while, Australia had seemed to be the place for the online pokie revolution to begin. However in 2000, the Australian Government brought in new gambling laws and restricted gambling online, banning Australian players from some of the most popular online gambling websites. This Act was available for just one year, until the new Interactive Gambling Act was introduced in 2001. It still exists today.
This act is considerably unique in that it is geared towards those who operate online casinos, rather than the players themselves. Lasseters, an online casino in the Northern Territory, had been allowed to stay online for the duration of this Act, until they closed business in 2008.
The Interactive Gambling Act has seen many different revisions and a lot of commentators have wondered about its existence. Some believe that its purpose is to attempt to decrease the amount of gamblers who have trouble with their spending limits. Others suggest it is a way for the Australian Government to gain further control of Australian pokies inside pubs and clubs.
Nevertheless, the most obvious reason would appear to be that the Australian Government does not want to see revenue from Australian gamblers go overseas. This would seem strange considering they could in fact control more if they were to put proper measures in place, rather than ban them altogether. It means they could share revenue, rather than lose it completely.