Online casinos that offer their services without an Australian licence and target local gamblers have still not been suspended, although the country’s communications regulatory body has unveiled stricter enforcement policy against illegal gambling operators.
Reportedly, ten online casinos that apparently target Australian gamblers with their services that are being run without an operating licence, can still be accessed by customers two months after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) revealed for Guardian Australia that it had found that the platforms are part of the watchdog’s compliance priority activities.
Many of these websites feature an openly Australian theme, including Fair Go Casino, PlayCroco, and True Blue. Furthermore, six of the platforms featured local contact phone numbers, while all ten were advertised through aussiecasinohex.com – a website that describes itself as the best guide to gambling in Australia.
For the time being, offering unlicensed online gambling services to Australian gamblers is not legal under the country’s legislation. Such a crime can result in a fine of up to AU$1.1-million daily under Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act (IGA).
Such operators are competing for a part of a market that has potentially been quite an attractive one. According to some estimates provided by Government research, the revenue generated by online gambling companies in the Asian-Pacific region ranges from about AU$65 billion to over AU$90 billion, with the popularity of online gambling having increased among Australian gamblers since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and following coronavirus lockdowns.
Illegal Online Gambling Websites Often Do Not Reveal Their Ownership
The fact that many online gambling casinos do not reveal their ownership and the majority of such websites use some protection services associated with the registration, such as Cloudfare, makes investigating such operators more complex.
The Guardian reported that it had sent some questions via the emails listed on their websites but none of them responded. A representative of Two Up Casino, who answered the Australian phone number of the website, explained that the casino was located in Curaçao but it had an Australian licence and accept local customers. He, however, said that he did not have permission to provide more details regarding the operator’s licence over the telephone.
So far, the identity of the websites’ provider of the poker machine-style games also remains unclear. The ten online gambling sites seem to offer various animated games that are advertised on the Internet under the Spinlogic Gaming and Real Time Gaming brands.
Of course, no wrongdoing by the gaming software providers and Cloudflare could be implied for the time being. As mentioned above, a spokesman for the ACMA shared that the regulatory body knew that the ten online casinos fall within its compliance priority policy. The spokesman further noted that the Australian communications regulatory authority remains focused on regulating companies offering casino services without an operating licence, as well as their supporting services and affiliates. The ACMA representative shared that the regulatory body is set to proceed with the disruption and enforcement options available, including requiring local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to ban the access to these websites.