ACMA to Start Blocking Illegal Websites
It is unlikely to come as much of a surprise that ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) has officially kicked off a campaign to start blocking illegal gambling websites that appear to be targeting Australian residents.
As a result, it has seen the watchdog alerts Australian ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block a further eight illegal gambling websites or affiliates that operate offshore.
These websites include Casino Jax, Mirax Casino, Wild Fortune Casino, Kosmonaut Casino, Slotozen, Rolling Slots, N1 Bet Casino, and No Deposit Kings, all of which have been found to have flouted the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
Emphasis on Compliance Key for Australia
Over the last couple of years, the country has undergone a significant crackdown on illegal gambling websites that operate offshore, having blocked 709 URLs since 2017, and there appears to be no letup currently.
It is believed that in order to eradicate these completely from the Australian market, ACMA will have a substantial role to play, and it could well mean that the organization grows over the next few months to help combat the threat on the market.
Australian authorities take any form of illegal gambling activity very seriously, and the punishments that it hands out to companies are particularly severe, these often being in the form of heavy fines.
Noah Rose, the owner of BetDeluxe, was hit with an AUD $50,172 fine in January after it was found customers were illegally targeted with a significant amount of spam advertising.
Following an investigation, it was found that between December 2021 and February 2022, the company sent well in excess of 104,000 SMS messages, without the option to unsubscribe, in addition to over 820,000 more that did not include the recipient’s contact details.
These were promoting a ‘cheeky punt’ and ‘VIP Service’ on sports and horse racing, as well as advertising bonus bets, along with money offers.
We received complaints from a significant number of people, with many expressing their frustration about receiving promotions for gambling.
Any spam can be annoying, but when gambling is involved, the risk of financial and emotional harm can be pronounced, so it’s important that wagering operators take compliance very seriously.
Is Australia Becoming the Industry’s Toughest Market?
There is a lot of confusion about the Australian gambling market in terms of what operators are allowed to enter. Currently, there is only one regulated and approved Australian operator site (TAB) in the country that offers sports betting possibilities, with this being offered by the gambling commission.
With the market not fully regulated and seemingly, in the short term at least, unlikely to become so, most available sites operate offshore, often via a license from the MGA (Malta Gaming Authority).
As a result, these don’t engage in any kind of unsolicited marketing but do not have to pay any license fee to the Australian gambling authority, which appears to be reluctant to push the growth of online gambling in the country.