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Australia to block illegal gaming websites

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is going to block access to illegal gambling websites hosted offshore in cooperation with internet service providers (ISPs).

The authority will investigate suspect sites and, if unable to take enforcement action order internet providers to block them. ACMA recently saw its powers expanded to tackle more effectively black market operations.

“The ability to have ISPs block illegal websites will be a valuable additional weapon in the ACMA’s arsenal in the fight against illegal online gambling,” explained ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

“In many cases these sites refuse to pay significant winnings, or only a small portion. Customers had also experienced illegal operators continuing to withdraw funds from their bank account without authorisation,” added O’Loughlin.

She also noted that 65 illegal companies had left Australia since ACMA began enforcing new rules against offshore sites two years ago. 2001 Interactive Gambling Act prohibits operators from offering betting services without a licence or operating online casino and poker for local customers.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher added said that Australians are wagering up to $400m via illegal websites each year, resulting in around $100m in lost tax revenue.

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