Australia Takes Further Steps to Ensure Safe Online Gambling for the Locals

| January 2, 2020
Australian online betting and gambling
Horse racing is a popular medium for online gambling

Australian love to bet on horse racing and it’s become one of the most popular sports for online betting. Together with other forms of betting, Australia is always somewhere in the top 5 countries that gamble the most. Australians are fond of gambling and one of the other most favourite ways to gamble is through the pokies. In fact, this is the most popular casino game for Australian gamblers to play. 

Australia has over 6.8 million gamblers and this is roughly 39 percent of its population. Aside from the pokies, the locals are also fond of the lotteries and scratch tickets. Now, even if these two are well-loved by the locals, it’s still the pokies that account for 56.7 percent of gambling revenues in the country. 

When it comes to the legality of gambling in this country, what’s completely legal are betting on auto races and in land-casinos that carry the license to operate. Online gambling is a bit in the grey area when it comes to legality. 

Based on Australia’s Interactive Gaming Act of 2001, no online casinos in Australia are allowed to offer their interactive or online gambling activities and services to someone in the country. This is applicable to both local and offshore-based operators. 

However, despite this, Australians still get to visit online gambling sites. There’s no one in the country that got in trouble for this yet, but the government is aware that many of its locals are having problems when it comes to getting their prizes from online casinos. 

When in this country, there are only specific sites and games that are allowed to be played online. The list of all available will be found at 888 slots games from slot machines to table games. Generally, online poker is not allowed in the country, but there are still other table and card games that can be enjoyed by the locals. Other casino games like blackjack, slots, and roulette can still be accessed. 

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will force Internet Service Providers or ISPs to finally block illegal offshore gambling websites. The ACMA chairman, Nerida O’Loughlin, said that they will be targeting sites that are going against the Interactive Gambling Act. 

ACMA said that they already have a list of sites that will be blocked in the country. “In many cases, these sites refuse to pay significant winnings or only a small portion,” O’Loughlin said. This is why players are motivated to already delete their accounts on illegal gambling sites. 

“Customers have also experienced illegal operators continuing to withdraw funds from their bank account without authorization. There is little to no recourse for consumers engaging with these unscrupulous operators,” added O’Loughlin. 

It’s advised that Australians first check the reviews of the casinos too before they get on a website. 

The government is still trying to regulate gambling in the country as it is also one of the main problems that they are facing. Aside from gambling addiction, the government also wants to focus on the fact that illegal online gambling is still prominent in the country. 

It’s not just now that the country is taking action when it comes to regulating safe gambling within its territory. In fact, there are already 65 companies that have stopped offering online gambling in Australia since the ACMA began regulating gambling in the country since the year 2017. 

Blocking illegal online gambling sites is just another step that they are taking for their locals to avoid any problems.  

“The ability to have ISPs block illegal websites will be a valuable additional weapon in the ACMA’s arsenal in the fight against illegal online gambling. We have achieved this through working with other regulatory agencies, placing directors of these gambling sites on the Department of Home Affairs Movement Alert List and notifying regulators in the home countries of the sites,” said O’Loughlin. 

Paul Fletcher, Australia’s Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety, and the Arts expressed that this latest step that they are taking appears to be just appropriate in scope. He said, “While ACMA has a range of powers to protect Australians from illegal gambling services – including issuing formal warnings and seeking civil penalty orders – it can be difficult to take direct action against faceless companies with no legal presence on our shores.” 

Paul also added, “Up to $400 million is spent annually by Australians on illegal gambling websites, accounting for around $100 million in lost tax revenue each year.” 

Blocking illegal gambling sites in the country may help reduce the risks of gambling for the locals of Australia. However, the problem with this is that the locals can still use VPNs to access the blocked sites. For now, there’s no action plan rolled out about this yet. 

Category: Special interest

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