Australia Blocks More Gambling Websites

ACMA gambling website block

In November 2019 the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) began forcing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block illegal gambling websites.

Several months on, Australians will be prevented from accessing an additional nine offshore sites.

According to ZDnet, the websites include Roo Casino, GW Casino, Wager Beat, Joe Fortune, Ignition Casino, Casino Dingo, AU Slots, Top Bet, and XBet.

ACMA has stated that over 79 complaints were made about these sites and they were found to be in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. ACMA is able to force ISPs to block these sites in accordance with section 313 of the Telecommunications Act.

Use of this section is explain by the Parliament of Australia website:

"Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 provides Australian government agencies (including state government agencies) with the ability to obtain assistance from the telecommunications industry when upholding Australian laws. Commonwealth agencies have used section 313 to prevent the continuing operation of online services in breach of Australian law (e.g. sites seeking to perpetrate financial fraud)."

The decision to block illegal offshore gambling sites came after reports that Australians were having trouble accessing winnings and deposits.

"Too often these offshore operators are defrauding Australians – and their websites typically provide very few, if any, harm minimisation controls,” said Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts in a statement last year.

Blocking the sites seems to have been the easiest solution due to how difficult it is to take action against a myriad of companies that aren't present in Australia.

"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."

Mr Fletcher also stated at the time that Australians spend up to $400 million a year on illegal gambling sites, which results in roughly $100 million in lost tax revenue each year.

After investigating suspicious websites and attempting other forms of enforcement, ACMA is able to direct ISPs to block the sites. This power was granted after the Review Into Illegal Offshore Gambling in 2915 and the passing of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2017.

[ZDnet]

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