Australia blocks more offshore gambling sites to protect consumers

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has instructed internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to additional offshore gambling websites operating in violation of Australian regulations. The ACMA announced that the latest sites targeted for blocking include A Big Candy, Jackpoty, and John Vegas Casino.

This is a part of the regulator’s ongoing efforts to shield Australian consumers from the issues associated with unlicensed and unregulated gambling platforms.

“Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options we use to crack down on illegal online gambling,” an ACMA spokesperson stated. “Since we made our first blocking request in November 2019, a total of 995 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have now been blocked.”

As reported by Asia Gaming Brief, the continued enforcement on illegal offshore gambling operators has also led to over 220 such services withdrawing from the Australian market since the ACMA began enforcing new rules in 2017.

Online gambling in Australia is regulated by the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA). The IGA makes it an offense to provide certain gambling services to a customer physically present in Australia via the Internet. Licensed services that offer online wagering, sports betting, and lotteries are exceptions under the Act.

A report from Responsible Wagering Australia, developed by H2 Gambling Capital, highlights the scale of the illegal offshore betting industry in Australia, valued at more than AU$1 billion ($667.6 million), representing about 15 percent of the total gambling market. The report forecasts losses for the racing and sports sectors, estimating that from 2022-2027, they could lose AU$1.6 billion ($1 billion) in product fees to illegal offshore gambling markets. Additionally, AU$1.3 billion ($868.1 million) in taxes could be lost.

The ACMA is urging consumers to exercise caution, warning that even seemingly legitimate services may lack essential customer protections.

“Australians who use illegal gambling services risk losing their money,” the ACMA warned, advising people to check the agency’s register to verify if a betting service is licensed to operate in the country.

This move comes amid concerns over the growth of online gambling in Australia. Industry data indicates that the online gambling market has expanded in recent years, with a considerable portion of that growth attributed to unlicensed offshore platforms.

Illegal offshore gambling operators pose a risk to Australian consumers,” reiterated the ACMA spokesperson. “By blocking these sites and cracking down on unlicensed activity, we’re working to create a safer and more regulated online gambling environment for Australians.”

The ACMA’s continued attention reflects its commitment to protecting consumers and maintaining the integrity of the regulated gambling market in Australia.