ACMA to block illegal offshore gambling sites

The Australian media watchdog ACMA has announced that it will block illegal offshore gambling websites in the territory.

Australia.- The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that it will block access to illegal gambling sites hosted offshore. The media watchdog said that it will investigate suspect sites and if it can’t take action, it will order internet providers to block them.

Communications and Cyber Safety Minister Paul Fletcher revealed on Monday that a new initiative will require internet service providers to start fielding requests from ACMA to block illegal sites.

“While ACMA has a range of powers to protect Australians from illegal gambling services – including issuing formal warnings and seeking civil penalty orders – it can be difficult to take direct action against faceless companies with no legal presence on our shores,” Fletcher said.

ACMA released a General Policies and Procedures guide yesterday to provide transparency on the methods it will use to exercise its powers to have internet service providers block the gambling sites. The policies include consultation periods before requesting the providers to block sites.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin added: “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.”

She added: “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. There is little to no recourse for consumers engaging with these unscrupulous operators. If you have funds deposited with an illegal gambling site, you should withdraw those funds now.”

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