Australia to block unauthorized Internationally licensed gambling sites. Recently Australian Communications and Media Authority has come forward with a plan to block any gambling site that doesn’t have an Australian betting license. Australia has one of the highest numbers of different gambling venues offering authorized VIP casino programs and services but, if their venues won’t be authorized in Australia, their domains will have to be blocked. Since the amount of these types of gambling websites has reached a concerning amount the authorities have decided to take action. Now for the first time, the Australian Communications and Media Authority will use its powers to work together with Australian internet service providers to block illegal offshore gambling websites.

This idea has been in the works since October of last year and finally, ACMA has unfolded its strategy. On November 11th it became public that Australia has a plan that will put into action its domain-blocking project. According to ACMA, they will be using subsection 313(3) of the Telecommunications Act, requiring ISPs in order to closely cooperate with the authorities and terminate access to any illegal online services by blocking access to these websites. ACM chair, Nerida O’Loughlin even went on to expose these unauthorized gambling websites and said that most of them often scam their users by not paying the significant winnings or only paying the fraction of the win. O’ Loughlin even warned the citizens of Australia that if they had any funds deposited with an illegal gambling site that they should withdraw those funds now.

How will this work

The plan itself is following: punters who attempt to visit one of these unauthorized gambling websites will end up on a “stoppage” instead, informing them of the unauthorized status of the website. These stoppages and the domains that they’re blocking will be reviewed periodically to make sure that site-blocking is still necessary. If the website has acquired authorization then there is an option to lift the block after instructing with ISPs. The authorities are keeping their expectations realistic. Australia’s Communications Minister even commented on the topis saying that the blocking is not a “silver bullet”. Despite that, Minister Paul Fletcher continued to say that ACMA would be moving quickly to block at least one website in the short term and along the line more blocks will be imposed in response to complaints. According to Mr. Fletcher Australians spend on average $400 million every year on illegal gambling websites.

Australia’s long term plan against unauthorized gambling

This isn’t the first time that Australia has tried to regulate unauthorized gambling. In 2017 Australia’s “Interactive Gambling 2001” went into action and solidified existing prohibitions on online gambling products, other than sports betting. This was a move targeted towards governments aim to crack down any site not holding a local license. ACMA has publicly claimed that its enforcement actions had in return made dozens of unauthorized international operators withdraw services from the Australian market. Some records stating that during that one year 30 illegal offshore betting sites were forced to pull out of Australia after this escalation of enforcement. This new regulation also promises to deliver, according to Australian officials. ACMA claims that its actions will result in a 50% decrease in the number of businesses sent to these sites by Australian punters, although a lot of independent analysts disagree and say that the impact won’t be as massive.

What’s interesting about this particular case is that Australians are the world’s biggest gambling Losers. So the public’s pushback has been gradually increasing over the years. Venue operators and people against gambling have been involved in the year’s worth of conflict trying to get the government on their side. Considering the latest regulations one would think that Australia is planning to gradually restrict gambling, but it’s important to consider that the state government relies on the revenue from the gambling business. That’s why it’s tackling specifically unauthorized gambling domains and not the rest.

This ban is the third and final part of online gambling reforms that the federal government brought in, following the review into Illegal Offshore Wagering in 2015. The First step was the aforementioned Interactive Gambling Amendment act 2017, which gave ACMA the power to prevent these illegal online gambling services from placing advertisements. The second stage was the creation of the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering, which outlined protections for Australians who gamble. And this is the third part tackles the websites. Since the previous plans proved to be a success, it’s reasonable to assume that the third installment will also bring about positive change.

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