Australia Shuts Down Norfolk Island Gaming Authority
The move comes after a damming report by a state-sponsored audit that labelled NIGA as, “barely viable,” and, “beyond redemption.”
NIGA came under scrutiny last year when it granted a license to an outfit called, BetHQ. BetHQ, it turned out, maintained very close ties with another, much larger and dubious, operation known as, Citibet. Citibet is widely known as one of the world’s largest illegal bookmakers.
That moment of poor decision making was by no means the first time that NIGA’s credibility had been questioned by the Australian government. NIGA has a long track record of making life very easy for online operators, no matter how shady their operations might be.
NIGA is also well-known as one of the most operator-friendly licensing authorities one the planet and has paved the way for plenty bookmakers, including well-known and very credible ones, to make their way into the lucrative Australian gaming market.
But it was the Citibet license that prompted Territories Minister Fiona Nash to suspend, and ultimately rescind completely, NIGA’s authority to issue gaming licenses altogether.
From the operator’s perspective, NIGA offered licenses with some pretty generous terms. For example, NIGA-licensed operators tax rate topped off at a very generous $300,000, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
From an auditor’s perspective, NIGA was a stooge for the gaming industry, an argument it bolstered by pointing out that NIGA had received an award from EGR for best professional services partner. The report, which was conducted by Centium, pointed out that:
An authority should not be viewed as a partner; its role is that of a regulator.
Operators that were license by NIGA to operate in Australia have six months to procure other licensing arrangements.