HomeGambling IndustryACMA takes out one of the biggest illegal gambling sites

ACMA takes out one of the biggest illegal gambling sites

3 min. read
Australia's Sydney Opera House.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA has taken out one of the biggest illegal gambling websites in the country. As the regulator cranks up its efforts to ensure that illegal gambling is kept beyond its boundaries, the watchdog has begun focusing on the big fish. ACMA has already banned more than 500 illegal gambling websites, ordering Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to comply and assist it.

This time, the measure targets a website that has been able to rake in tens of millions of dollars from citizens who may have played there without even suspecting that the website was illegal. The blocked website, by the name of thepokies.net, is one of the biggest and most significant players in the black market and has at least 30,000 Australian gamblers every month, the regulator’s data show.

Thepokies.net is not registered to operate in the country and as such, it’s illegal under the stature of the Interactive Gambling 2001. Previously. Australia hoped that ordering companies to leave would be enough. Many did so voluntarily. Others though decided to stick around. This is why in 2017, ACMA created a list in which it manually tracked and blocked gambling websites breaking the law and continuing to operate without a license.

Five years later, the list has successfully blocked hundreds of websites. ACMA argues that thepokies.net is one of the most significant successes the watchdog has achieved in recent months, citing how important it is and in terms of the potential harm it has been inflicting on Australian gamblers. Such websites seldom have the same safeguards as other local options, ACMA cautioned.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin stressed the importance of continuing to block rogue operators that are targeting the country without having an official permit from a state-recognized regulator. O’Loughlin added:

"By blocking access to sites like this we are sending a strong message that the ACMA can and will take action to stop illegal operators from targeting Australians."

ACMA’s efforts have not been for naught though. Apart from managing to block hundreds of websites on its own, close to 200 websites have left voluntarily. Meanwhile, affiliates, who are the main conduits of illegal gambling, have received a clear message that their efforts would be wasted, discouraging many from committing any further.

Image credit: Unsplash.com

17 Jun 2022
3 min. read
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