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ACMA Blocks 5 More “Illegal” Online Gambling Sites

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has proven over the past few years that it is taking no prisoners when it comes to offshore gambling sites. Ever since various amendments were made to the Gambling Act of Australia and introduced in 2017, these sites have been on the chopping block. Through the amendment, betting firms not possessing an official license from an Australian regulatory body cannot provide their services to Aussie players. On Oct. 21, 2021, the ACMA once again brought the hammer down on international online casino firms, directing the country's ISPs to block access to five more gambling websites.

ACMA Blocks 5 More Sites

ACMA's Powers Grow Over the Years

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Initially following the passage of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill, the plan was to fine the operators of these foreign-based platforms up to AU$7.9 million per day. Through the threat of such fines, the ACMA was successful in driving many, but not all, offshore gaming groups from the country.

The ACMA deployed additional enforcement mechanisms over the following years though. To be more specific, it has been able to request that the country’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) block access to sets of sites that it deems to be illegal. And now, five more gambling sites have been the victim of the ACMA’s authoritarian control over the industry.

This is just one of several occasions that an announcement has been made over newly blocked online gambling websites. After receiving multiple complaints about the offending platforms, the ACMA took it upon itself to investigate them. In the end, it was found that they were operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

ACMA LogoThe ACMA Is Charged With Enforcing Australian Online Gaming Laws

About the 5 Additional Sites Added to the Blacklist

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Whenever a situation like this arises, the ACMA proceeds with its investigations and then requests the ISPs in Australia to block access to the sites. This enforcement mechanism was introduced on Nov. 11, 2019, and this time around, the five platforms targeted are:

  • Spin Bit
  • Fight Club
  • Kim Vegas
  • Queenspins
  • Yoju Casino

The ACMA went on to remind its residents that even if such sites do look legitimate and safe to join, it would be unlikely that they provide important customer protections. And while it is true that the majority of the sites on the current ACMA blacklist are licensed, they do not possess certificates that come from an Australian licensing body, so they don't count in the eyes of the Australian government.

Blocking websites is just one of the methods that the Authority utilises as a way of protecting Australians against what it determines to be illegal online gambling activity. Since the first blocking request was made back in November of 2019, a total of 324 illegal operations have been targeted and blacklisted.

About the ACMA's Domain Blocking Record

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It is also the case that a group of 147 illegal services have withdrawn their services from the Australian market of their own accord. This came about very swiftly after the new online gambling rules were introduced back in 2017. The PokerStars brand was one of the first to remove itself from the Australian market, and it was swiftly followed by others, like 888 and PartyPoker amongst various others.

Website blocking has become the primary route that the ACMA takes when it comes to tackling offshore gambling platforms. In a statement, the organisation said that it provides a valuable opportunity to be able to alert people to illegal gambling services being run. When a user attempts to access one of the blocked sites, they are not able to do so. Instead, they are redirected to the ACMA website, which provides additional information about illegal and legal gambling services in the country.

ACMA's Tactics Misguided?

As noted, the ACMA has been on quite the roll when it comes to blocking access to offshore sites. From the end of 2019 and onward through 2020 and into 2021, numerous websites have been blocked to Australian players.

It is questionable as to whether or not the course of action undertaken by the ACMA is a successful one, though. While it published a report one year after the amendment to the Gambling Act 2001 was introduced saying that it was happy with how things had been proceeding, some have questioned whether it is doing what it was originally intended to do.

By that time, numerous legitimate services had pulled their gambling sites out of Australia, including those previously mentioned. This led the Australian Online Poker Alliance founder, Joseph Del Duca, to make a bold statement. He mentioned that even though the various operations were no longer active in Australia, it had simply led to them being replaced by what he deemed to be far riskier sites. And potentially, this is how the additional powers were granted to the ACMA by 2019, allowing it to block access to offshore websites.

Joseph Del DucaJoseph Del Duca, of the Australian Online Poker Alliance, Has Been a Fierce Critic of the ACMA

Granted, it is fantastic if those platforms that are blocked do actually pose a legitimate threat to the well-being of Australians either because they don't pay out wins or they run crooked games. But it also seems that some sites with legitimate licenses and top-quality customer protections have also been targeted and removed from the country. It is therefore possible that the Australian authorities simply don’t want Australians spending their money on offshore gambling sites because they don’t get to reap any of the tax benefits from such activity.

Blocking Websites Simply a Façade?

Even though the authorities can block access to offshore sites, it is not an airtight route to take. Despite websites being blocked, many operators and players have reported that they can still successfully load the websites up, simply by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), for example. At the same time, some operators have alternative domains that can be used.

If you were to take a look at the Ignition Poker brand, it makes use of multiple domains. And there is little to stop it from setting up new domains whenever one of its websites is interfered with in some way. So, the ACMA could block access to one or two of these, but it would have many others that players could access Ignition’s services through.

Players have discussed numerous ways to circumvent the blocks in place by the ACMA, with altering DNS settings being one such route to take. Through that, you can bypass the settings that are set in place by your ISP and thereby access a supposedly blocked website.

Playing Games in Australia Remains a Possibility

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The ACMA is, without a doubt, trying its best to stop residents from being able to access offshore casino and poker websites. Some websites remain accessible to players, though, with the aforementioned Ignition Casino being one of them. By accessing that online gaming site, you can benefit from a multitude of promotions alongside the games that are on offer.

If you want to know about other successful and legitimate online poker sites that Aussies can play at, then we have some information for you on that. Simply read through our guide on the best online poker sites for Australian players. All is not lost, and online gaming sites continue to provide exciting poker and casino content to Aussies to prove this.