ACMA Continues Crackdown on Illegal Gambling Sites
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has asked the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to the gambling website thepokies.net.
It is one of the most widely used websites to be blocked since the authority started using the regulatory tool in November 2019. It is thought that tens of millions of dollars are gambled there each month, and data from Similarweb shows that it receives around 30,000 Australian monthly visitors.
An investigation carried out by the ACMA found that thepokies.net was offering casino-style games, which Australia prohibits under its Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
Nerida O’Loughlin, the ACMA chair, said that to date, the regulator has requested that ISPs block more than 500 gambling websites. However, she explained that thepokies.net is potentially the site that has caused the most harm.
We have received more complaints about thepokies.net this year than any other illegal gambling website, and it is clearly doing a lot of harm to the Australian community. Complaints have ranged from people who have lost significant amounts of money through to the site refusing to honor deposits and winnings. By blocking access to sites like this, we are sending a strong message that the ACMA can and will take action to stop illegal operators from targeting Australians.
The ACMA has adopted a number of strategies to reduce illegal gambling, including industry engagement, targeted enforcement, and public education. Since the authority began enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017, more than 160 illegal services have removed themselves from the Australian market.
O’Loughlin explained that players using illegal gambling websites do not receive the same protections as those who play with licensed operators, “If one of these sites decides to keep your money, and we know that happens quite regularly, there is nothing you can do about it.”
Other illegal sites recently blocked by the ACMA include Azure Hand, Abo Casino, Betroom, 777Bay, Space Lilly, Jet Casino, Katsu Bet, and Winz.