ACMA set to block illegal offshore gambling websites
Illegal offshore gambling websites could soon be blocked by Australian internet service providers (ISPs) under new instructions from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
ISPs will be asked to block gambling sites found to be in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 and continue to offer services to Australians, ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin announced on 11 November.
O’Loughlin said these sites often cheat or defraud Australians, with sites refusing to pay significant winnings or providing only a small portion.
“Customers had also experienced illegal operators continuing to withdraw funds from their bank account without authorisation,” she said, adding that affected consumers have little to no recourse.
“We have been targeting illegal gambling services we know are active in the Australian market through complaints received and monitoring. But we expect that list of sites will grow as we investigate more.”
Over 65 illegal companies have withdrawn from the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017, according to O’Loughlin.
“We have achieved this through working with other regulatory agencies, placing directors of these gambling sites on the Department of Home Affairs Movement Alert List and notifying regulators in the home countries of the sites,” she said.
“Public education is also crucial in deterring Australians from using these sites, given many illegal offshore gambling websites target Australians by using Australian themes and images, such as the Australian flag and native animals.”
Anyone with funds deposited in an illegal gambling site should withdraw them immediately, O’Loughlin warned.
Consumers can check whether services are legal in Australia via the ACMA’s Register of licensed interactive wagering services.
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