Australian offshore gambling halved

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The extent of illegal offshore gambling in Australia has fallen by half since the introduction of new penalties, according to a study this week.

The report, by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) showed that the reforms made to the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act 2001 have led to the loss of 33 overseas operators while illegal gambling revenue is likely to drop by half, from its 2017 level of A$450m to A$200m in 2018.

The reforms, which were introduced last year, give the ACMA the power to take punitive action against unlicensed or prohibited offshore gambling sites, and to impose penalties of up to $8 million per day on those found to be in breach of the rules.

Since the introduction of the new penalties in September 2017, the ACMA has carried out investigations on 138 websites, of which over 40 percent were offering gambling to Australians.

Speaking about the findings of the report, the Chair of the ACMA, Nerida O’Loughlin, said that the organisation had been resolute in carrying out its enforcement responsibilities:

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.”

Prohibited Interactive Gambling

Under the Interactive Gambling Act, it is illegal for any operator to provide prohibited interactive gambling products to the Australian markets, or to advertise such services.

As a result of the changes to the Act, the ACMA set up an Interactive Gambling Taskforce, which has undertaken a number of actions, ranging from education and engagement to enforcement, in order to deter and disrupt illegal operations, as well as working with international regulators, software providers and payment companies, to improve its enforcement capacity.

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