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Australia Cracks Down, to the Benefit of Locally Licenced OperatorsPublished November 8, 2018 by Lee R
Coordination between outside agencies and preventative taxing look to have revamped the Australian market by weeding out unlicenced operators.
A progressive crackdown has led to what looks like an exodus Down Under.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) reports that a total of 33 prominent online gambling sites have withdrawn from the Australian market since last September.
Confirmed Thursday in data on the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, the exodus is directly traceable to last September, when the Act expanded ACMA powers to crack down on unlicenced offshore operators.
ACMA Head Speaks
ACMA Chair Nerida O'Loughlin was not shy in taking responsibility:
“Over the past year, we’ve moved decisively to disrupt the provision of illegal offshore gambling to Australians. We’ve made it clear that Australia’s laws are unambiguous. If you provide prohibited or unlicensed gambling services to customers in Australia, you are breaching Australian law and we will take enforcement action.”
The New Penalty
The new authority granted to ACMA to levy Australia-facing unlicensed providers up to AUD$8m (US$5.7m) a day is part of a greater drive towards social justice.
Outside Coordination and Support
The same report further outlines further targeted education, engagement and enforcement action taken by the ACMA to raise awareness and respect for Australia's laws, with added support overseas according to O'Loughlin:
“We’ve received valuable support from overseas gambling regulators and third parties such as software providers and payment processors to change behaviour in the offshore gambling market.”
The Enforcement Strategy
O'Loughlin identified her agency's three-pronged approach of clearer laws, an active regulator and stronger enforcement measures.
Further impact of the new ACMA crackdown includes a 50 per cent reduction in payments from Australia nationals to offshore operators this year.
Original Licencing Bans
Specific bans expanding the crackdown of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 included bans on online sports betting sites lacking an Australian government stamp of approval; online in-play betting, casino or poker products; gambling on credit, and promotion of unapproved gambling sites.
The ACMA also opened up the public lines, fielding 108 inquiries and complaints over the course of the first three months of the Act and launching 18 separate ACMA investigations resulting in several suspect services dropping their Aussie customers.
The ACMA further reported 62 investigations concluded in the first year of the Act, 38 of which were found to involve actual breaches, in turn resulting in the targeting of 34 international operators for compliance to bring 23 of them back into the fold. The tips line uncovered 58 websites, bringing 35 of them back.
The exodus Down Under is ultimately appears to apply only to non-compliant operators, leaving the Australian market stronger and safer than ever.