ACMA moves to block offshore gambling sites in Australia

By Owain Flanders

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced it will begin blocking illegal offshore gambling websites in the country.

According to the ACMA, more than 65 illegal gambling companies have withdrawn from the Australian market since 2017, when the watchdog first began enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules.

In a new strategy, the communications watchdog will utilise ISPs to block offshore gambling sites found to be in breach of the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act, enacted to curb the perceived negative effects of online gambling in the country.

Paul Fletcher, Australian Minister for Communications and Cyber Safety, said the country spends up to AU$400m ($274.6m) per year with illegal offshore gambling sites, costing a further AU$100m in lost tax revenue.

Nerida O’Loughlin, ACMA Chair, said: "The ability to have ISPs block illegal websites will be a valuable additional weapon to the ACMA’s arsenal in the fight against illegal online gambling.

"In many cases, these sites refuse to pay significant winnings, or only a small portion. Customers have also experienced illegal operators continuing to withdraw funds from their bank account without authorisation.

"There is little to no recourse for consumers engaging with these unscrupulous operators."

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