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Australia's ACMA Blocks 15 more gambling websites in September 2022

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority, or the ACMA, has been consistently ramping up its enforcement of the amended Gambling Act 2001. At the beginning of August, the ACMA targeted a casino games provider known as Proxous by issuing a formal warning letter urging the company to stop supplying casinos. Later that month, the ACMA blocked another six offshore gambling sites.

ACMA Blocks 15 More Gambling Sites

On September 21, 2022, the ACMA requested that another 15 offshore gaming sites be blocked by the country's ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Unfortunately, this tactic is not a new one as the ACMA has been blocking numerous sites since 2019. This kind of enforcement has been the primary method utilised by the ACMA in its efforts to thwart online gambling by exerting its control over ISPs.

The ACMA Continues to Crack Down

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The Interactive Gambling Act was amended in 2017 to tighten the restrictions around online gambling. The Gambling Act stipulates that all gambling operators need to hold a valid Australian license, but unfortunately, the vast majority of trusted gambling operators cannot possibly acquire a license. The system in place essentially asserts that any and all offshore gaming sites are illegal.

The ACMA began this type of enforcement back in 2019 when it first requested ISPs to block access to gaming sites directly. Since that time, this method of enforcement has become standard operating procedure for the ACMA. The ACMA has also drafted threatening legal documents as a part of its efforts.

Which Sites Have Been Blocked?

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The ACMA has asked Australian ISPs to block access to an additional 15 gambling sites. The ACMA has investigated and found that the following services have operated in breach of the Australian Interactive Gambling Act:

  • Spin Oasis
  • Fab Spins
  • Wabo88
  • RB Carnival
  • Ozbet88
  • The GoGo Room
  • Velvet Spin
  • Zenith Slots
  • Slots of Wins
  • Latinbet24
  • Hell Spin
  • Sky Crown
  • Blue Leo
  • Wolf Winner
  • Bizzo Casino

Blocking access to gambling sites directly is the main enforcement tactic used by the ACMA in its continued efforts to crack down on so-called illegal gambling operators. The ACMA has also been targeting affiliate sites with increasing regularity. To date, the ACMA has now blocked a total of 614 gambling and affiliate marketing sites.

Many Operators Preemptively Exited Australia

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Back in 2018, about one year after the Gambling Act amendments became effective, the ACMA was seemingly pleased with how things were unfolding. It published a report stating that 33 of the largest internet gambling operators including sites like PokerStars, 32Red, PartyPoker, and 888 Poker had decided to withdraw from the Australian market. In total, over 180 services have now withdrawn from the Australian market.

Gaming Sites That Have Left AustraliaA few notable brands that decided to withdraw from the Australian gambling market

Specific Enforcement Actions Taken by the ACMA

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As we have covered throughout this article, the ACMA has continued to aggressively pursue what it views as illegal gambling operators. Just last month the ACMA added six gambling and affiliate sites to its blacklist. This came directly after it sent a letter to a provider of casino games urging them to stop supplying casino games to operators serving Australian players.

This kind of enforcement has been consistent from the ACMA over the past few years. Back in 2021, the ACMA blocked 25 offshore gaming sites and two lottery sites. In 2020, the ACMA targeted another eight casino sites in addition to blocking nine URLs earlier that year.

The ACMA has also blocked affiliate marketing sites as a part of its enforcement measures. The examples are seemingly endless, and unfortunately, it is questionable as to whether this continued crack-down is having its intended impact, or, any positive impact whatsoever.

Why Does the ACMA Continue to Block Sites?

The ACMA claims to be simply enforcing the law in its efforts to snuff out offshore gaming. The issue, however, is that many Australians wish to gamble online, and the way the law is currently written, no offshore providers can obtain a license to comply with the rules. This results in the ACMA endlessly blocking sites while the sites themselves usually create alternate URLs to circumvent these blocks. Eventually, the ACMA will attempt to block the new URLs, but there is simply no way for it to keep up with the speed at which gaming sites can set up new URLs for their customers.

Many Australian players have utilised other tactics to circumvent these bans like altering the DNS settings on their computers and using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. When considering that the gambling sites will continue to create new URLs and that players can easily circumvent any blocked sites, it seems questionable as to whether the ACMA's enforcement methods are yielding any positive results.

Instead, it seems that this often has the opposite effect. Blocking access to reliable and trusted gaming sites can divert customers to shadier, inferior operators. Numerous sites that are currently on the ACMA's blacklist are highly reputable gaming operators that continue to serve Australian players. There also exists a massive number of unscrupulous, shady sites that still attempt to serve Australian players. As you can imagine, this situation creates confusion and it is our opinion that the ACMA's efforts are largely in vain.

Online Gaming Options Still Exist in Australia

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Fortunately, there are still plenty of trustworthy gaming operators serving Australian customers. Although the options are a bit limited in comparison to many other geographical areas, Australians still have excellent options when it comes to online gambling.

If you are a poker player who is searching for the best online poker options in Australia, please feel free to explore our extensive Australian online poker guide.

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