Crackdown on illegal online gambling services during 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup revealed by ACMA

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has disclosed the outcomes of an investigation on illegal online gambling services that were in operation around the time of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The report, revealed today, sheds light on the efforts undertaken by the authority to address illegal gambling activities targeting Australians.

As reported by Australians Communications and Media Authority, a total of 200 offshore services came under scrutiny in the lead-up to and during the sporting event. Among these, 21 services drew attention for their apparent targeting of Australian consumers. Subsequently, investigations revealed that 18 of these services were in clear violation of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

In response to the ACMA’s findings, three of the identified services opted to withdraw from the Australian market voluntarily. However, the remaining 15 services faced action, with their websites being blocked by internet service providers at the instructions of the ACMA.

Carolyn Lidgerwood, an authority member at ACMA overseeing online gambling affairs, highlighted that the flagged websites were operating without the requisite licenses to offer gambling services in Australia. Furthermore, some of these platforms were found to be offering prohibited interactive gambling services, including online casinos, slots, and online in-play betting.

Lidgerwood highlighted the risks associated with engaging with such illegal platforms, noting their lack of consumer protections afforded by licensed gambling services. She cautioned against the allure of these sites, emphasizing that users could potentially lose their winnings without recourse due to the absence of regulatory oversight.

The ACMA’s measures against illegal online gambling extend beyond this recent crackdown. Since 2019, the authority has been collaborating with internet service providers to block gambling websites found flouting Australian interactive gambling laws. To date, over 900 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been banned from operating within the Australian digital landscape.

Moreover, the ACMA’s enforcement has prompted more than 220 illegal services to cease operations in the Australian market, signaling progress in addressing offshore gambling entities evading regulatory frameworks.

With a commitment to mitigating gambling-related harm, the ACMA has designated compliance with regulatory standards as a top priority. Australian consumers are encouraged to leverage resources such as the ACMA’s online register to verify the licensing status of gambling services operating in the country.

For comprehensive information and guidance on navigating the landscape of online gambling, the ACMA offers resources on its website, including strategies to safeguard against illegal operators and avenues for lodging complaints against unauthorized sites.