In Australia, the media and communications authority is continuing its hunt for unlicensed online gambling domains. A few weeks ago, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that it had requested internet service providers to block 12 possibly shady websites across the country. Some of the banned online casinos in Australia include:
When did the crackdown start?
Over the years, the Australian online gambling market has grown to greater heights. As a result, many online casino operators have popped up and saturated the iGaming industry. However, not all pokies sites are properly licensed and regulated. So, the ACMA saw the need to restrict these operators to protect consumers across Australia.
In 2017, the media and communications authority received permission to shut down unlicensed online casino websites. Over 100 online casinos decided to exit the market voluntarily, but some remained open. Since the crackdown started, 300+ websites have been shut down, via geo-blocking.
Some of these online casino sites include seven Reels, Horus Casino, Zebet, and Winward Casino, to name a few.
Why was online gambling banned in Australia?
The crackdown resulted from these websites breaching the Australian’s Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. This Act had initially failed to stop Australian from wagering with offshore online pokies sites, however the clamp down targeted the operators, forcing many of the most reputable operators out of Australia. This included many UK casino sites and Malta gambling sites, with Aussies now mainly playing at illegal gambling sites based in places like Curacao.
ACMA hopes to do more
ACMA recently published a report that stated that about 10% of Aussies gamble online at least once per month. The report also revealed that about 5% of gamblers confessed to using unlicensed casino sites to place online bets, with a large part of this number playing real money pokies. About 80% admitted to using regulated sites to gamble online.
So, following the report, ACMA saw the need to continue with the crackdown. Although the recently shutdown casino sites seem like a win, the authority still has a long way to go. This is because the iGaming industry is quite huge, and there is always a new site being launched every month. It, therefore, needs to be alert to protect innocent gamblers from betting on illegal websites.
Features of licensed online casinos in Australia
Although the crackdown on unlicensed gambling sites will protect Aussies, it’s always advisable to check a few boxes before joining any iGaming website. Below are some of the top features to look out for:
- Licensing agreement: you should always make sure that every site you visit is regulated by a reputable gaming commission. Some of the best iGaming regulators in the world are the UK Gambling Commission, the ACMA, and the Malta Gaming Authority. Australians are unable to play at casino sites licensed by these regulators.
- Player casino bonus terms: a genuine online gambling site should clearly outline its bonus terms. If there are any wagering requirements, they should be stated on the operator’s Terms and Conditions page to encourage transparency.
- Customer support: a reputable online pokies site should have a few player support options. This way, anyone can have access to readily available assistance anytime they are stranded while at the website. Some of the best options are 24/7 live support, email, an FAQ section, and telephone.
- Banking options: the best online gambling websites usually support multiple banking options. You should also be able to clearly see the operator’s deposit/withdrawals terms and conditions before joining the iGaming site.
- Casino games on offer: a genuine Australian gambling site usually offers a variety of casino games or betting options. So, be sure to check out the casino operator’s lobby before signing up for an account.