200 offshore services reviewed

ACMA reveals 18 services were blocked for illegal gambling during 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Reading time 1:17 min

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has revealed the outcome of a crackdown on illegal online gambling services operating around the time of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. 

The report published by the authority shows that 200 offshore services were reviewed in the lead-up to and during the event. Of those services, 21 were investigated as they appeared to be directly targeting Australians. As a result, 18 services were found to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Following notification of the ACMA’s findings, three of those services withdrew from the Australian market, while the remaining 15 services had their websites blocked by internet service providers at the request of the ACMA.

ACMA authority member and online gambling lead Carolyn Lidgerwood informed that the sites were unlicensed to provide wagering services in Australia and in some cases also offered interactive gambling services such as online casinos and slots or online in-play betting, which are all banned in Australia.

Illegal gambling operations often take advantage of high-profile sporting events to push their services onto fans. These sites also offer none of the consumer protections that apply to licensed wagering services in Australia. Using these sites is more than a gamble as you have no rights and even if you win, you may never see the money,” Lidgerwood said.

Since 2019, the ACMA has been asking internet service providers to block gambling websites found to be operating in breach of Australian interactive gambling laws. Over that time, more than 900 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been blocked. 

More than 220 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing illegal offshore gambling rules.

The ACMA notes that minimizing gambling harm is its current compliance priority and that Australians can check on the ACMA’s online register to see if a wagering service is licensed to operate in Australia.

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