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ACMA blocks Pokizino and other online gaming sites

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On Dec. 14, 2022, the Australian Communications and Media Authority announced that it had blocked another two gambling websites. The Australian Communications and Media Authority, commonly known as the ACMA, has continued to block its citizens' access to offshore gambling websites that it has deemed illegal.

ACMA Blocks Two Additional Gambling Sites

The ACMA has primarily asked Australian ISPs, or Internet Service Providers, to block access to certain websites offering gambling or advertising gambling. The ACMA has repeatedly utilised this tactic despite many questions and doubts regarding its efforts.

Background Information on the Interactive Gambling Act

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The ACMA has been blocking sites with increasing regularity over the past few years as a part of its efforts to enforce the Amended Interactive Gambling Act 2001. The Act was amended back in 2017, and in 2019, the ACMA began asking ISPs to block specific URLs and sites offering gambling services to Australians.

The ACMA was created in 2005 by combining the Australian Broadcasting Authority with the Australian Communications AuthorityThe ACMA is in Charge of Regulating and Enforcing Australian Gambling Laws

The ACMA has made it clear that offshore gambling sites are not welcome in Australia, and there is no way for an operator to gain the proper credentials or licensure. There are a few licensed sportsbooks, but the ACMA has continued its firm stance against any other kinds of online real money gaming, including poker.

Which Brands Were Banned This Time?

Only two brands were named in the most recent enforcement announcement from the ACMA. Pokizino and ABA Lucky 33 were found to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. Both Pokizino and ABA Lucky 33 offered online gaming like slots to Australian players. In fact, Pokizino only appears to be available to players from New Zealand and Australia, so it seems like this move could severely impact Pokizino's business in a negative way.

The Home Page of the Pokizino Casino WebsiteThe Home Page of the Pokizino website

Pokizino seems to offer a number of popular slot brands like Aristocrat and Ainsworth, two regulated companies that design and build slots for real live casinos. We weren't able to find much information about the second site, ABA Lucky 33, but it seems like it is a website that was offering casino gaming directly to Australian players as well.

The ACMA Has Been Blocking Sites Since 2019

Although there have been a significant number of sites blocked by the ACMA this year, this practice dates back to 2019 when it first began asking ISPs to block access to gambling sites. In January 2020, the ACMA blocked another nine gambling websites.

This specific enforcement tactic has continued with regularity, and in 2021, the ACMA started blocking gambling affiliate marketing sites as well as part of its efforts. This is an especially unfortunate situation because affiliate sites do not offer any gambling services, so it seems like a bit of overreach for the ACMA to block access to sites for promoting gambling operators.

The ACMA Has Continued to Block Sites Throughout 2022

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It was only back in late November of this year when the ACMA blocked nine sites. Enforcement has been steady as the ACMA had just blocked six sites a month prior and even drafted a threatening letter to a games vendor called Proxous back in September.

To date, the ACMA has now blocked 652 supposedly illegal gambling and affiliate marketing websites including this most recent enforcement action. Additionally, numerous online operators have stopped serving Australia voluntarily in order to comply with the ACMA's regulations.

Even large brands with excellent reputations like Party Poker, PokerStars, and 888 Poker have fled the Australian market.

Unfortunately, it is our opinion that all of this effort may be causing harm. The ACMA says that its efforts are to keep its citizens safe, but in reality, this enforcement has had the opposite effect. With trusted and reputable brands leaving Australia and being blocked, players are frequently diverted to shadier sites where their funds may actually be at risk.

It seems to us that it would make far more sense to allow Australians to gamble freely and safely if they choose to do so. In addition, players are often able to circumvent blocked sites by changing the DNS settings on their systems or using a VPN. Operators have also resorted to creating new URLs after the ACMA blocks access to their site, so the justification for the ACMA's continued efforts seems to be marginal at best.

Safe Gambling Options Still Available in Australia and Beyond

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Although it seems like the ACMA's efforts have created confusion and negatively impacted the gambling landscape in our view, there are still reliable operators that offer gambling to Australian players. The gambling opportunities are slightly limited in comparison to how things used to be, but you'll still be able to play poker, casino games, or wager on sports in Australia without issue.

If you are an Australian poker player and you're looking for reputable online poker sites that cater to Aussies, please feel free to check out this detailed Australian online poker guide.

For Australian players who would rather play casino games like slots and table games, we would emphatically recommend trying Joe Fortune Casino. Joe Fortune has maintained an excellent reputation for offering a solid assortment of games and generous bonuses. To learn more information about this operator, please feel free to check out this review of Joe Fortune Casino.