From Vegas to Macau, and channeling James Bond in Monte Carlo, casino tourism has become one of the biggest travel trends around the world.
We’re living in the age of the casino tourist now, where, just as travelers head overseas to enjoy architecture, history, or nature, gambling is a very real, and very relevant interest that motivates people to jet off to another country.
While there are many bucket-list worthy casinos, and in fact whole casino cities, Australia is emerging as a surprising hub for casino tourists. In fact, Australia’s most popular casinos attract more visitors than the Sydney Opera House!
If you’re heading to Aus to take in the casinos, the following are things you should know about Aussie gambling culture, regardless of whether you’ve got your poker face on in Hobart, Melbourne, or Sydney.
5 Things to Know About Gambling in Australian Casinos
Casinos Are More Popular Than National Icons
It’s true – the top three tourist attractions in Australia last year were all casinos, with Crown Casino Melbourne, Jupiters Casino Gold Coast, and the Star in Sydney beating out visitor numbers to icons like the Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef!
As Australia’s most popular casino, Crown Casino Melbourne alone pulls 10.9 million visitors annually, and a big reason for this is that Australian casinos allow for much more than gambling – they’re often full blown entertainment complexes.
Most Casinos have become known as an attraction in their own right, for being home to a range of trendy restaurants, nightclubs and bars, well as theaters, hotels, and resort amenities like water parks and swimming pools.
So it’s no surprise, with this in mind, that casinos have become to intricately tied to the tourism fabric, when many of them double as fully integrated resorts, with some of the best and most luxurious hotel suites in the country!
Tax is Paid by the Casino
Unlike other countries around the world, you do not need to pay tax on your gambling wins in Australia. Australian gambling tax is paid by the casino.
This is because Australia has a strong, historic betting culture, and does not consider this to be income – gambling is defined as an entertainment and leisure activity by the Australian Tax Office.
However, this is not the case for other countries (ie the USA, France, and Spain), and you’ll need to make sure you’re aware of the laws in your home country, and if they tax you on international wins, even when Australia won’t.
Online Tournaments Are Just as Popular
While land based casinos are popular in Australia, casino online Australia has also become a big trend. Gamers are getting their fix now without having to leave the comfort of their own home.
If you’re looking to combine a land based casino experience, with an online casino experience, make sure you’ve booked a hotel with good quality internet. It’s sad, but scoring a hotel with free Wi-Fi in Australia is harder than almost any other country except China!
Many Australian hotels still charge for WiFi too, so don’t automatically assume that this is included with the cost of the room.
Don’t Expect to Smoke Here Like it’s Europe
Smoking may be a cultural pastime in many casinos throughout Europe, however it’s not in Australia.
Many of Australia’s federal laws make it difficult to smoke in public places, and most casinos across the country have done away with their smoking rooms, and will charge hefty fines if you’re caught lighting up inside.
It’s cultural here that there will be a small designated smoking areas on the grounds of the casino somewhere, but you won’t be able to do it at the actual tables.
Don’t Worry About Tipping
While it may be customary to tip your dealer in the US, and expected to leave some cash for the waitress bringing you drinks, tipping isn’t part of society in Australia.
The advertised price in Australia includes service, and while tipping is always a lovely gesture, it’s not part of the culture. Australians are paid a high minimum wage compared to the rest of the world, and regardless of your position, once you hit 18, minimum wage here is upwards of $19 per hour.
Much of the time when you leave a tip, it goes in a jar toward the end-of-year staff Christmas party, though many casinos claim the tips for the house and not individual employees.