Australian telecom regulators are getting ready to shut off their citizen’s access to offshore gambling sites by blocking access to them entirely. It’s a move that’s, ostensibly, designed to protect Australian consumers from fraud, and protect problem gamblers from themselves.

Under the terms of the plan, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will completely block access to offshore gambling sites under the auspices of the Telecommunications Act. This act allows the government to force internet service providers to block access to sites that offer illegal activity. Under the terms of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, all offshore gambling sites fall into the category of illegal activity.

Representatives for the ACMA say that the new blocks are designed to help Australian consumers who frequently have no protection from fraud perpetrated by illegal offshore gambling sites. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin described the situation saying, “There is little to no recourse for consumers engaging with these unscrupulous operators.”

Communications minister, Paul Fletcher chimed in on the issue saying that offshore sites offer little in the way of protection for problem gamblers. “Too often these offshore operators are defrauding Australians and their websites typically provide very few, if any, harm-minimisation controls,” he said. He also points out that these kinds of sites are frequently associated with international organized crime syndicates.

According to the ACMA, unlicensed offshore gambling sites cost the Australian government more than $100 million in lost tax revenue every year.


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