Australian Gaming Regulator ACMA Blocks More Offshore iGaming Websites

Posted on: December 15, 2021, 08:44h. 

Last updated on: December 15, 2021, 11:56h.

Australians who use one of several offshore online gaming websites will soon find they can no longer log in. A crackdown on unlicensed iGaming operations continues, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) adding 14 more sites to its list.

Australian Communications and Media Authority
The Australian Communications and Media Authority office in Australia. The watchdog continues to crack down on illegal offshore gaming sites, adding 14 more to be blocked. (Image: ABC News)

In an update from yesterday, the ACMA reported that it has reached out to Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the country, requesting they block a slew of sites. The watchdog has submitted a list of online gaming operators and affiliate-marketing sites that it says were not legal to operate under the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001.

Website blocking provides a valuable opportunity to alert the public to illegal gambling services through the messaging that appears when there is an attempt to access the site,” says the ACMA in its announcement.

The ACMA has spent years investigating the web to determine which sites might be targeting Australian gamblers illegally. It relies on the cooperation of ISPs to block sites once they’re identified.

Since 2017, when new online gaming laws and controls were introduced, well over 400 offshore sites have been forced to leave the market. Most of these, over 375, came after 2019, when the ACMA was authorized to have ISPs block access.

An Uphill Battle

Policing the web for sites that target Australian gamblers is a non-stop process.

If a platform can find a new website address, it can always reappear and pick up where it left off. If it serves other countries or jurisdictions, it will remain open and users will have to determine how to get around the controls.

The sites now to be blocked are Aus Casinos, Australia Casino, Axe Casino, Casino Shortlist, Casino4u, Casino-On-Line, Comet Room, Golden Lady Casino, Lucky Dreams, No Deposit Bonus Blog, No Deposit Friend, Online Casino Australian, Paradiso Room, and Spin Samurai.

Lottery Sites Targeted, Too

Online casinos aren’t the only targets. Last month, the ACMA went after lottery websites We Love Lotto and Red Fox Lotto. This was an effort to hit the fast-growing online lottery segment. These two platforms, and others like them, offer access to overseas lotteries online. However, they are not licensed in Australia.

The ACMA doesn’t just go after offshore websites that prey on Australians. Last month, it slapped Tabcorp on the wrist after the company’s online sports betting platform allowed more than 37 in-play wagers on a college basketball game in the US.

While live betting is gaining ground in the US market, Australia’s gambling laws still prohibit it.

Tabcorp apologized, blaming the issue primarily on an error by a third-party provider. However, it also admitted that it had committed a technical error that allowed the bets to be processed.