The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been relentless over the past years in suspending illegal gambling websites. The watchdog’s first salvos against the black market may have seemed like run-of-the-mill saber-rattling but the regulator has been able to suspend over 400 illegal gaming sites so far, with some 160 operators opting to leave Australia for fears of damaging their international license.
ACMA Goes After Illegal Gambling Again
While some stragglers have decided to try their luck against the watchdog, ACMA has been busy handing down suspensions. In the latest round of crackdown on illegal gambling, the regulator targeted 12 brands, among which Zebet, Zeturf, Slot Vibe, Arlekin Casino, Johnnie Kash Kings, Lucky Star, Horus Casino, 21 Dukes, Tangiers Casino, 7 Reels, Winward Casino and Thebes Casino, essentially taking aim at websites that should have pulled out in 2001, at least in theory.
ACMA held the websites in breach of the country’s Interactive Gambling Act 2001 and has blacklisted them with the aid of Australian internet service providers or ISPs. ACMA has found this method to work well in raising awareness about regulated versus unregulated markets, a difference that has been lost on many gamblers:
“Website blocking provides 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.”
Meanwhile, Australians’ appetite for online betting has been going up. A recent survey showed that at least 10% of Australians surveyed in the first six months of 2021 had placed a bet online.
Appetite for Online Gambling Increases
Some 5% of those gamblers admitted that they had placed a bet with an offshore website. Younger generations also tend to gamble at websites that may not be necessarily licensed with some 11% of respondents admitting to having done as much.
ACMA though has been actively monitoring the gambling industry. The regulator even issued a warning to Tabcorp, one of the most prominent legal gaming firms in Australia. The regulator has been similarly expanding the scope of the properties it monitors and takes action against. For example, ACMA also targeted illegal lotteries last year.
Reports of blocked websites have been frequent as the regulator doubles down on its stated goal to keep Australian gambling clean.