The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) intends to request that Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the country remove 18 offshore black market betting websites.
An official statement by the ACMA revealed that 222 illegal gambling operators have been removed from the web in Australia since its first blocking request was made in November 2012.
The websites removed were Syndicate Casino, 7 Bit Casino, Casino Nic, Fast Pay Casino, iLucki, King Billy Casino, Woo Casino, BitStarz, Loki Casino, Golden Star Casino, Gunsbet, Spinago, Joo Casino, Bet Chain Get Slots, Joka VIP Room, King Johnnie and Wild Card City.
Meanwhile over 100 illegal services voluntarily withdrew from the Australian market since the Authority implemented its illegal offshore gambling regulations in 2017.
Labelled as ‘one of a range of enforcement options’ to protect the country’s public from unscrupulous operators, website blocking is further described by the ACMA as ‘a valuable opportunity to alert the public to illegal gambling services through the messaging that appears when there is an attempt to access the site’.
Under the authority of the Telecommunications Act 1997, the ACMA can request that ISP’s remove any betting website based on violations of the following criteria:
- Providing prohibited interactive gambling services to customers in Australia (such as online casinos, online slot machines and services that allow in-play online sports betting).
- Providing an unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service to customers in Australia (such as online betting services that don’t have a valid Australian licence).
- Publishing ads for prohibited interactive gambling services or unlicensed regulated interactive gambling services in Australia.
The announcement comes as the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) and betting operators engage in a debate with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and industry reform advocates regarding the prevalence of a black market in the country.
A recent report by PWC, commissioned by the BGC and leading operators, found that although the number of UK online gamblers aware of black market websites remained steady at 4.5 million, the number of punters using these services increased from 210,000 to 460,000 within 12 months.
However, the gambling reformers have criticised the black market claims, with UKGC Chief Executive, Neil McArthur, calling the report ‘exaggerated’ and ‘not consistent with the intelligence picture’.