ACMA Continues to Hunt Down Illegal Operators

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Illegal online iGaming companies in Australia have met their maker. The country’s telecom watchdog has been hot on the trail of wrongdoers for a while now, and ACMA finally seems to be winning.

ACMA Pulls the Trigger on Online Gambling Sites

Australia has a history with trying to uproot illegal online gambling companies, in an attempt to establish control over its own market and ensure that consumers are protected. For months, the country’s regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been trying to deal with the bane that are those websites.

Finally, on October 31, ACMA released a statement detailing the withdrawal of 33 international gaming and betting agencies from the country since the newly-introduced gambling laws came into effect in Q4, 2017. Since then, ACMA has also tightened restrictions on sports betting and advertising.

Despite the approval of respected jurisdictions, the Australian government has taken a dim view of any operator that doesn’t bear the country’s own stamp of approval. With the restrictions being introduced on September 13 last year, many operators have pulled out of the country while some have continued to operate illegally.

ACMA was not alone in its attempts to uproot illegal gambling. The organization saw a spike in the number of complaints, registering over 100 signals from citizens that there had been violations of the established regulation.

As a result, ACMA eventually launched 18 investigations which were intended to shut down the activities of the specific gambling operators caught in the act.

Detailing its march against companies, ACMA said on Wednesday that it had amassed 62 investigations following the introduction of the law. As part of these investigations, 34 international operators came under fire from the watchdog.

Over 40% of all gambling websites in Australia are operating without the necessary license from the government.

ACMA has stayed busy by addressing slews of international companies, mailing them directly to the bodies responsible for issuing the licenses in places, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Malta, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Kahnawake and Curacao, all of which, bar one, are recognized jurisdictions that issue gambling licenses.

As a result of the sweeping changes and measures, the participation rate of Australians into international gambling companies is expected to plummet by 50% by the end of 2018. Despite the strict measures, though, international websites still dominate the market, accounting for over 40% of all bookmakers.

The rate, while alarming, is still to be expected since Australia has a long history with gambling, and it’s often cited as one of the world’s most gambling-prone nations. Despite the recent successes, there is much to be done still.

ACMA and the Unknown Illegal Companies

Despite the string of clamp-downs, ACMA still has a lot of work to do. The agency openly admits that it’s not quite aware of how many illegal operators have penetrated the county, but they expect the numbers to still be around the 40-percentile mark. Meanwhile, targeting advertising has helped some, too.

What makes fighting companies difficult is the fact that as they try to stay under the radar, there’s no readily available data to be crunched for the benefit of the watchdog.

Nevertheless, ACMA continues with its steady and inexorable march towards clamping down on wrongdoers in the Australian market.
A lot of work needs to be done.