ACMA announces first online casino blocking orders

19 November 2019

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that Emu Casino and Fair Go Casino will be the first offshore gambling websites to be blocked by internet service providers (ISPs) in the country as part of a new clampdown on illegal activities.

The ACMA found both sites have been offering online casino-style games, which are prohibited under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. The authority launched an investigation after it received a number of complaints about each brand.

As a result of its findings, the ACMA has requested that ISPs should now block access to the websites.

“Emu Casino and Fair Go Casino are illegal sites that target Australians, and between the two we have received more than 50 complaints about their conduct,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“They’re happy to take your money when you lose, but people have reported to us that they refuse to pay out winnings. If you have funds deposited with these—or any other an illegal offshore gambling site—you should withdraw those funds now.”

The move comes after the ACMA this month started implementing its powers to order ISPs to block acess to illegal offshore gambling websites.

“Enforcing Australian laws against offshore companies is challenging. There is no single measure that will be successful in every case,” O’Loughlin said. “Blocking access to websites sends a strong message that the ACMA can and will take action to stop illegal operators from targeting vulnerable Australians.”

According to the ACMA, more than 65 illegal operators have pulled out of the Australian market since 2017 when the ACMA started enforcing strict new rules against unlicensed gaming sites. These include measures to directly target management and directors of such businesses, including banning them from travelling to and from Australia.