The Australian watchdog in charge of communications and media has ordered Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to suspend 18 new illegal gambling brands in the country.
ACMA Rolls out Ban on 18 New Gambling Brands
The Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA continues to hunt down illicit gambling operators targeting Australian citizens. The country is now going to reach out to domestic Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and ask them to restrict access to another 18 black market websites, adding to an already bulky list.
So far, 222 illegal gambling companies have been blacklisted by Australia since the list came online in 2012. While progress has been slow, ACMA has restricted access to a number of brands already, with more in the pipeline. Blacklisting casinos and gambling websites, though, has not been the only method used by the regulator.
In the case of 100 services deemed illegal by the regulator, companies decided to withdraw voluntarily and avoid gaining a “black actor” classification. ACMA has previously threatened to take issue with major companies’ licensing authorities in the United Kingdom, Malta and elsewhere should they have refused to comply.
The latest brands to be blacklisted as per ACMA’s guidelines are 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.
ACMA believes that by blocking websites the agency is protecting residents, but similarly raising awareness about gambling operations that should not have operated in the country in the first place. With Australians being some of the keenest gamblers on the Internet, the task is still difficult.
ACMA Cannot Block the Internet but Will Try
Demand for online gambling is surging, but there are little alternatives at home, other than sports betting. ACMA has been particularly active throughout 2020 taking on various issues. The watchdog released a 12-month survey focusing on whether online providers had been complying with ACMA regulation.
In November 2020, the watchdog suspended access to Always Vegas, Gibson Casino, Malibu Club Casino and Viggoslots. Before that, in August, the regulator blocked another eight brands. ACMA enacted separate restrictions in both March and July and has been identifying new brands to limit access to in a bid to keep residents safe.
While regulation continues at full steam, Australia may in fact benefit from liberalizing its online gambling market. However, doing so would be a tough sell given the country’s high rate of gambling addiction and the fear that online gambling could lead to an even higher incidence of societal problems driven by irresponsible gambling.
Nevertheless, with the offshore market successfully targeting Australians, ACMA is not moving fast enough to restrict their access. As things stand, ACMA cannot block the Internet, but it will try.