ACMA blocks two more illegal gambling websites
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued two new blocking orders to internet service providers in the country. The bans target Pokizino and ABA Lucky 33, illegal gambling websites operating without a license in the Down Under, that do so in direct breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
The pair is targeted by the regulator as a part of a multi-year blacklist that has so far stacked up as many as 652 names of illicit services that have been blocked. These names include suppliers of games, affiliates, and operators. ACMA reminds that as part of its successful blacklist operation that launched in November 2019, the country saw 180 illegal gambling websites leave voluntarily.
The country’s media regulator said it would take serious measures against the unregulated gambling sector in 2017 and took almost two years to issue its first blocking orders, but it has been largely successful since then. ACMA has launched a multi-pronged approach to reining in the unregulated gambling sector in the country.
On the one hand, the watchdog has sought to collaborate with gambling authorities and ISPs and actively block offending brands and companies. Then again, the regulator has also been trying to raise public awareness of illegal gambling brands. Presently, Australia does not allow online casinos, with the sector limited to land-based venues instead.
Sports betting is legal, but in order to participate in interactive wagering, consumers must make sure that a website has been licensed by a state regulator. ACMA has also urged consumers to file complaints with the regulator and report offenders.
ACMA has been acting in stages and usually takes one or two enforcement actions monthly. During its last month’s blocking order, ACMA named nine brands that it found to be in breach of local market regulation and which were blocked through an ISP ban. Meanwhile, Australia is approaching various aspects of the gambling industry.
According to Gamblers Anonymous, more teenagers are turning up at help meetings to seek a way to cope with gambling addiction. At the same time, the country’s most prominent land-based gaming operators are coming under regulatory scrutiny and legal proceedings. The Alliance for Gambling Reform said earlier this month that some 430,000 childrenunder the age of 16 are gambling online.
Australia is also pushing for tougher advertisement rules and the use of highly debated cashless gaming cards, which some opponents say would treat loyal customers like "criminals" and boost the offshore market.