Australia’s communications watchdog has set its sights on affiliate advertising websites promoting illegal offshore gambling operators.
According to information released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) this week, efforts are being stepped up to combat illegal online gambling by blocking websites that promote and drive traffic toward online casino type services.
It said many of these sites disguise their intentions by presenting themselves as independent reviewers of gambling services.
In response, ACMA said it has asked Australian internet service providers to block these affiliate sites and provided a list of seven sites to be initially targeted.
“These marketing sites can push you to illegal gambling services that do not have the protections that go with licensed and regulated services,” said ACMA Authority Member Fiona Cameron.
“We often get complaints from consumers that winnings are not honored and that incentives and pressure tactics target problem gamblers.”
The ACMA has expanded its scope in targeting offshore gambling ever since Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act 2001 was updated in 2017 to close various loopholes that had previously been exploited. Under the regulations, online slots, casino gaming and poker are all considered illegal with hefty fines for those found breaking the law.
The ACMA said it has blocked 279 illegal gambling websites since 2017, with 144 services having departed Australia.
“The ACMA is focusing on gambling affiliate sites as a 2021–22 compliance priority, after a focus in 2020–21 on online casinos targeting Australians,” the Authority said.