The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Australia’s media watchdog continues with the strict cleanup of its online gambling sector by flagging 18 more offshore online casino platforms. Unlike other gambling legal markets, Australia doesn’t take kindly to any online gambling website targeting its citizens without a state-issued gambling license.
Through their no-nonsense policy of dealing with offshore online casino websites, the ACMA is practicing its mandate of protecting locals and informing people about operators who are targeting locals illegally.
The online casino websites that have joined Australia’s ever-growing blacklist are; 7 Bit Casino, Bet Chain, BitStarz, Casino Nic, Fast Pay Casino, Get Slots, Golden Star Casino, Gunsbet, iLucki, Joka VIP Room, Joo Casino, King Billy Casino, King Johnnie, Loki Casino, Spinago, Syndicate Casino, Wild Card City, and Woo Casino.
Investigations were carried out on every single one of the above websites before being blacklisted after the ACMA received complaints from users. Following an inquiry into the domains, they were found to be acting against Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act of 2001.
Recently Launched Online Gambling Sites Weren’t Spared
It’s interesting to note some of the culprits here such as Get Slots, Gunsbet, Joka VIP Room, and Spinago, are casinos that have just been launched the other day. Even with their greenness in the iGaming world, the watchdog did not let them offer services to Australians as they hadn’t accessed the market the right way. Clearly, the ACMA isn’t sleeping of the job.
As standard protocol, the ACMA will forward the names of these offshore online casinos to local ISPs (internet service providers) and ask them to block access to the sites in Australia. Once the ISPs comply, a message will appear letting users know that the site is blocked and refer the user to a host of other Australia licensed online casinos.
Australians who registered with the online casinos in question have been asked by the ACMA to withdraw any funds they have remaining in their accounts right away. Further, the regulator advised players who had signed up on the blacklisted sites to stick to platforms that have been listed on its ‘register of licensed interactive wagering services'.
After announcing the axing of the 18 operators from the local market, the media police reiterated its unwavering determination to keep the iGaming industry in line in the following statement;
“Over 100 illegal services have pulled out of the Australian market since we started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017. 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.”
Over 200 Online Casinos Blocked in Less than 2 Years
Per ACMA’s records, a total of 222 domains for online casino websites have been kicked out of Australia since the register of the banned domain was established in November 2019. The majority of these domains were barred last year, having banned a total of 92 online casino sites by August.
Since the Telecommunications Act of 1997, the ACMA was given extensive authority to shut down whatever it sees as illegal web activity. Come 2001, when the Gambling Act of 2001 was signed into law, more powers were vested to the media ombudsman to control iGaming.
According to Australian law, the ACMA can thus instruct ISPs to block unlicensed gambling websites in the country and those that publish advertisements of services that aren’t locally licensed.
The ACMA also has the authority to take stern action on any medial channels that publish advertisements that breach the law of the land in one way or another. In March 2020 for instance, Nine Entertainment Co., a publicly listed media company in the country was slapped with an AU$420,000 fine for breaching gambling advertising laws.
Australia’s gambling advertising law dictates that gambling ads aren’t supposed to be aired within 5 minutes of the start of a sports match. Additionally, gambling ads are prohibited for live sporting events that take place between 5:00 am and 8:30 pm every day to reduce the chances for children consuming gambling material. Concerning the gambling advertising law, Nine Entertainment was punished because 9Now, one of its streaming platforms had aired gambling ads right before two rugby league games were played at that time.