The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has called on Australian internet service providers to block two illegal foreign lottery sites - lottery sites that were blocked in the country for the first time.
An ACMA investigation found that two websites, We Love Lotto and Red Fox Lotto, offered tickets to Australians in major online lotteries overseas when they were not allowed to do so.
"We Love Lotto and Red Fox Lotto are both operating illegally in Australia, meaning there are no consumer safeguards in place for players," said Agency member Fiona Cameron.
She added, "Blocking illegal offshore sites protects Australians from potentially dodgy operators where there is little or no recourse if things go wrong. Lottery services that are licensed in Australia and operating legally have important safeguards that consumers expect."
Although these are the first lottery services to be blocked, the ACMA has been asking ISPs to block illegal casino-type gambling sites since November 2019, with a new report released today for the fiscal year 2020-2021.
It also indicates that 156 foreign online gaming providers have withdrawn from the Australian market since ACMA was given increased responsibilities and powers under the amendments to the Australian Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
"We are very pleased with the outcome and it shows that the steps we are taking to combat illegal online gambling in Australia have had a positive impact," said Cameron.
Australian spending on these services is substantial. Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC) estimates Australia's spending on overseas gambling in 2020 was US$175 million (approximately AU$237 million), of which more than half was devoted to online casinos. H2 Gambling Capital (H2GC) has predicted a decrease for 2021, but still expects more than half will go to online casinos. Despite the gap in the projections, it's clear that Australians continue to lose significant sums to overseas casino operators.
ACMA continues to receive complaints about these illegal services, which don't provide the customer protections Australian operators can provide. Winning may not be delivered by the offshore operators and incentives and pressures are used to target players. Consumers who visit these sites have little or no recourse if they suffer mistreatment from players or if their winnings have been withheld.
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