SBC News Three sites retreat and 15 blocked after ACMA Womens’ World Cup probe
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Three sites retreat and 15 blocked after ACMA Womens’ World Cup probe

An investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found 18 offshore websites breaching gambling laws in Australia during the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The 2023 sporting event saw gambling carried out via verticals such as online casinos and slot/gaming machines as well as betting on sporting events whilst play was under way, which is illegal in the country.

An overview of the 200 offshore gambling websites ahead of the World Cup, which Australia co-hosted with New Zealand, reveals that 21 were investigated by the authority due to directly targeting Australian punters.

Following the investigation, three of the offshore gambling websites withdrew from Australia, while the remaining 15 were blocked by internet providers following requests by the watchdog.

Carolyn Lidgerwood, ACMA’s online gambling lead, highlighted how many of the websites targeted Australian gamblers, stating: “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.”

The news comes not long after the acting Australian government under PM Anthony Albanese was urged by the state of Victoria’s gambling regulator to take immediate action against wagering ads.

For ‘The Guardian’, Annette Kimmitt – CEO of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission – highlighted that there is a pressing issue of what she called a ‘bombardment’ of complaints from parents who report that their children are secret gamblers. 

Meanwhile, last year, a bill was introduced to the Australian parliament that suggested an end of gambling sponsorships in sports across the country. Introduced by independent Member of Parliament Zoe Daniel, the bill will outlaw all gambling adverts on pay-TV, free-to-air and streaming services, as well as radio.

Other sports in the country such as the National Rugby League (NRL) continue to distance themselves from the betting sector, and recently both the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs extended partnerships with Reclaim the Game.

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