On December 14, 2022 The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced that it has blocked two more gambling websites. The Australian Communications and Media Authority, better known as the ACMA, continued to block its citizens from accessing offshore gambling websites it deemed illegal.
The ACMA basically asked Australian ISPs or ISPs to block access to certain websites offering gambling or advertising gambling. The ACMA has repeatedly used this tactic despite many questions and doubts about its efforts.
Basic information about the Interactive Gambling Act
The ACMA has been blocking sites with increasing regularity over the past few years as part of its efforts to enforce the amended Interactive Gambling Act 2001. The Act was amended in 2017, and in 2019 the ACMA began requiring ISPs to block specific URLs and sites offering gambling services to Australians.
The ACMA has made it clear that offshore gambling sites are not welcome in Australia and there is no way for the operator to obtain the correct credentials or licence. There are several licensed sportsbooks, but the ACMA continues its strong stance against all other types of real money online games, including poker.
Which brands were banned this time?
Only two brands were named in the latest enforcement notice from the ACMA. Pokizino and ABA Lucky 33 were found to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. Both Pokizino and ABA Lucky 33 offered online games such as slots to Australian players. In fact, it seems that Pokizino is only available to players from New Zealand and Australia, so it looks like this move could seriously negatively affect Pokizino’s business.
Pokizino appears to offer a number of popular slot brands such as Aristocrat and Ainsworth, two regulated companies that design and build slots for real live casinos. We weren’t able to find much information about the second site, ABA Lucky 33, but it appears to be a website that offered casino games directly to Australian players as well.
ACMA has been blocking sites since 2019
While there have been a significant number of sites blocked by the ACMA this year, the practice dates back to 2019, when it first started asking ISPs to block access to gambling sites. In January 2020, the ACMA blocked a further nine gambling websites.
This specific enforcement tactic continued on a regular basis and in 2021 the ACMA began blocking gambling affiliate marketing sites as well as part of its efforts. This is a particularly unfortunate situation as the affiliate sites do not offer any gambling services, so it seems a bit over the top for the ACMA to block access to sites promoting gambling operators.
The ACMA continued to block sites in 2022
As recently as the end of November this year, the ACMA blocked nine sites. Enforcement is robust as the ACMA just blocked six sites a month ago and even wrote a threatening letter to a game provider called Proxous in September.
To date, The ACMA has already blocked 652 suspected illegal gambling and affiliate marketing websites including this latest enforcement action. Additionally, numerous online operators have voluntarily stopped serving Australia to comply with ACMA regulations.
Even big brands with excellent reputations like Party Poker, PokerStars and 888 Poker fled the Australian market.
Unfortunately, our opinion is that all these efforts can cause harm. The ACMA says its efforts are to keep its citizens safe, but in reality this enforcement has the opposite effect. As trusted and reputable brands leave Australia and get blocked, players often turn to more shady sites where their funds can actually be at risk.
It seems to us that it would make much more sense to allow Australians to gamble freely and safely if they choose to do so. In addition, players can often bypass blocked sites by changing their systems’ DNS settings or using a VPN. Operators also resort to creating new URLs after the ACMA blocks access to their site, so the justification for the ACMA’s continued efforts seems tenuous at best.
Safe gambling options are still available in Australia and beyond
While the ACMA’s efforts appear to have created confusion and negatively impacted the gambling landscape in our view, there are still reliable operators offering gambling to Australian players. Gambling options are a bit limited compared to the way things used to be, but you’ll still be able to play poker, casino games or bet on sports in Australia without a problem.
If you are an Australian poker player and are looking for reputable online poker sites that cater to Australians, please feel free to check out this detailed guide to online poker in Australia.
For Australian players who would prefer to play casino games such as slots and table games, we strongly recommend trying Joe Fortune Casino. Joe Fortune maintains an excellent reputation for offering a solid assortment of games and generous bonuses. To learn more about this operator, feel free to check out this Joe Fortune Casino review.