ACMA blocking 14 offshore gambling sites 

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

This month marked another backlash by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) against offshore gambling, as 14 websites were blocked by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Preliminary investigations highlighted that the casinos were operating illegally, offering online gambling services to Aussie players, by not abiding to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. Keep reading for more or visit online Pokies Bet for more Aussie gambling news. 

How many gambling websites are banned to date?

This is not the first move by ACMA to tackle offshore casinos from operating in Australia. Although the latest platforms to be blocked from ISPs are Casino-On-Line, Spin Samurai, Golden Lady Casino, Lucky Dreams and Paradiso room amongst others, the watchdog has acted many times before. 

With blocking requests by ACMA dating back to 2019, 375 illegal sites are barred from Aussie search engines today. Further, over 100 online gambling sites have exited the market willingly since ACMA started taking measures against offshore gambling in 2017. 

‘’Blocking websites is a unique approach, that informs the public about illegal gambling operators, thanks to the messaging that is communicated by ISPs instead’’, said the media watchdog. 

Lottery websites and sports betting platforms are not off the hood either, with ACMA issuing warning to Tabcorp gambling giant and shutting down online access to We Love Lotto and Red Fox Lotto. 

Does ACMA have this authority?

The Telecommunications Act 1997 provides ACMA with the ability to request ISPs blocking of sites that breach current Australian legislation. 

The fine print states that this measure is only enforceable when ‘’serious criminal or civil offences are involved’’, as it is highlighted on the ACMA website

And in case you are wondering, if an online casino or gambling site breaches the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, they fall under the above category; as IGA states that:

  • Interactive gambling services to Australia are not allowed.
  • Unlicensed betting services are not allowed, with licensed being only those that are issued through Australian authorities. 
  • Ads that promote such services. 

Still, if the recipients of an ISP block consider it to be unfair or unjustified, they can still appeal through the authority. 

What does this mean for players?

First off, it is important to mention that ACMA is acting in the best interest of gamblers from Australia, as most offshore online casinos fail to provide a safe gambling environment for them. That should not come as a surprise, with regulated markets having in place numerous bodies to keep track of online casinos’ services and keeping them in check. 

As the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 prohibits such practices, offshore online casinos do not have to answer to anyone for their practices. In most instances, reports of offshore online casinos come from players themselves, after they have been dubbed by a particular offshore casino site. 

The players can file for an investigation anonymously, and Aussies that engage with online casinos that operate illegally in Australia do not really face any recourse. The only danger for players is that if an online casino treats them unfairly, they have nowhere to turn to for help. 

Is the actual problem solved through ISPs blocking?

Although ACMA is doing the best with its current authority, it relies heavily on Internet Service Providers to enforce the blocking. To move forward with a block, the watchdog will have to provide specific technical details, which in many cases won’t really have an effect. The offshore gambling sites often move to another domain or change brand name, avoiding the damage and continuing to offer their services to players from Australia. 

But still, the US and Australia have managed to minimize the number of offshore online casinos through such practices, despite the challenges that they face when doing so. 

This article was written in cooperation with PokiesBet