Australian regulators and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have already made it clear that it would crack down on offshore gambling sites that target the country’s territories. The ACMA has been working on plans, after legislation was approved to give it more power, to be able to force Internet Service Providers (ISP) to take action against the offshore sites, and has previously ordered the providers to block access to a number of online gambling portals. Not ready to step back and take a break, the ACMA has now gone after another set of sites as it fights to keep them out of the country’s digital borders.
The ACMA just sent an order to ISPs for them to block another nine gambling sites. The move comes following complaints that were lodged against those operators, and the list includes AU Slots, Casino Dingo, GW Casino, Ignition Casino, Joe Fortune, Roo Casino, Top Bet, Wager Beat, and XBet. Those sites were reportedly the sources of 79 complaints submitted to the ACMA, which explained in a statement, “ACMA investigations found these services to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.”
The ACMA saw its powers extended in 2017 thanks to an amended Telecommunications Act. 90 sites have already been taken off-line, either voluntarily or through the agency’s actions, since the revisions to the law were made. According to the agency’s updated governance, “The ACMA will monitor at regular intervals the disruption of access to the website to ensure that it remains appropriate (that is, it is effective, responsible, as targeted as possible and is executed appropriately).”
The hope is, by eliminating the illegal virtual shops, Australian consumers will receive better protection and the government will receive more funds. According to the country’s Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, around $100 million (US$69 million) in tax revenue is lost each year to the offshore sites. He previously asserted, “While ACMA has a range of powers to protect Australians from illegal gambling services — including issuing formal warnings and seeking civil penalty orders — it can be difficult to take direct action against faceless companies with no legal presence on our shores. This is an important partnership with the Communications Alliance, and I want to acknowledge industry’s support. Working with ACMA, these additional measures give ISPs the ability to block illegal websites, protecting Australians and contributing to a safer online gambling environment.”