Comms and media regulator

Australia: ACMA blocks 10 offshore illegal gambling and affiliate websites

Reading time 2:12 min

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has blocked more illegal gambling and affiliate websites, the regulator announced Thursday. The independent statutory authority has now requested that Australian internet service providers (ISPs) block 10 non-compliant offshore sites.

The latest sites to join the growing list are Stay Casino, Bambet, Dazard Casino, Level Up Casino, Rocketplay Casino, Wild Tornado Casino, Cobra Casino, Cobra Bet, Casinority, and Pokies Lab. Investigations undertaken by the ACMA found that these sites operate in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. 

Website blocking is among the range of enforcement options the ACMA has to prevent illegal online gambling websites from targeting Australians. According to the authority, it provides “a valuable opportunity to alert the public to illegal gambling services” through messaging that appears when there is an attempt to access the site.

Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 481 illegal gambling websites have been blocked. Aditionally, over 160 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017.

The ACMA reminded consumers about the legitimacy of certain services, stating that even if a service looks legitimate, it may still lack crucial customer protections, meaning Australians who use illegal gambling services risk losing their money.

In February, ACMA published new research which points to an increase in online gambling among Australians. The report shows more than one in 10 (11%) Australians have reported participating in iGaming at some stage in the previous 6 months, up from 8% in 2020.

The “Online gambling in Australia” snapshot, undertaken in June 2021, also showed an increase in sports betting, with 8% of Australians betting on sports or racing over the last 6 months, compared to 5% in 2020. According to the ACMA, the research also provides insight into the impact of Covid-19 on online gambling habits: 16% of Australians who gamble online reported an increase in their gambling frequency when compared to before the pandemic.

Additionally, the media and communications authority also released a desktop study into affiliate marketing services promoting and facilitating access to online gambling services in Australia. The research found commissions for affiliate marketing sites for iGaming are “substantially higher” than in other industries.

As part of the authority’s work disrupting illegal offshore gambling, the ACMA had previously set a 2021-22 compliance priority focusing on affiliate services promoting online gaming. Research is set to contribute to this effort, as the ACMA is tasked with investigating whether the services are promoting illegal gambling services in contravention of Australia’s iGaming laws.

“We’ve been disrupting illegal offshore gambling activity since 2017,” the ACMA said at the time. “We’re now focusing on affiliate services. We’ll be investigating if these affiliate services are breaking advertising laws or helping to provide illegal gambling services in Australia.”

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