Aussie Watchdog Busts Eight Illegal Gambling Sites for Withheld Winnings, Poor Player Treatment

  • The ACMA found the sites operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001
  • Australians using the sites have been advised to withdraw their money immediately
  • The watchdog caused over 100 illegal services to pull out of the Australian market since 2017
  • A total of 92 sites have been blocked in the ACMA's tenure
Person trying to type on laptop reading "NO ACCESS"
Australian media watchdog ACMA has ordered the country’s ISPs to block eight offshore gambling websites after investigations uncovered that the sites withheld winnings and treated players poorly. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

ISPs ordered to put on blockers

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has instructed the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) to block eight offshore wagering websites. It cites numerous complaints received, including withheld winnings and poor treatment of players.

advised Australians using the sites to withdraw their money immediately

The watchdog advised Australians using the sites to withdraw their money immediately. Sites to be blocked are Ace Pokies, Enzo Casino, Nordicasino, Planet 7 Oz, Reeltastic, Royal Spinz, Spintropolis, and Times Square Casino.

The Authority’s investigations found the eight sites to be in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

As an independent Commonwealth statutory body, the ACMA monitors “broadcasting, radiocommunications, telecommunications and some online content” in Australia. It is vested with the power to request an ISP to block access to any website it deems to be operating outside the law.

Aussie watchdog with bite

Formed after a merger between the Australian Broadcasting Authority and the Australian Communications Authority in 2005, the ACMA has to date blocked over 90 gambling websites.

“Over 100 illegal services have pulled out of the Australian market since we started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017,” it said.

Last month, the ACMA requested that ISPs block access to 11 websites, namely Bondi Bet, Box 24 Casino, Fruits 4 Real, JokaRoom, Happy Hugo, Kahuna Casino, Mucho Vegas Casino, Omni Slots, Rich Casino, Slottica, and XPokies.

In May, the ACMA also instructed ISPs to block another 11 sites operating in violation of the law.

Before issuing a blocking order, the ACMA has to go through an exhaustive process, in line with Sections 313 and 314 of the Telecommunications Act. One of these procedures involves consulting with relevant ISPs and agreeing on the management of costs, methods used to block websites, and the use of a “stop page” to warn members of the public.

ACMA busy in 2020

The ACMA has reaped a bumper harvest of illegal entities in 2020. In January, it collared nine illegal sites after successfully investigating 79 separate complaints.

The latest 11 gambling operators to be found guilty of breaching the gambling act in August brings the all-time total of blocked sites to 92. All the perpetrators are listed on the ACMA’s website. The body states that “website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal online gambling.”