Paul Fletcher, Australia’s Communications Minister, has announced that the federal government will soon begin to block illegal overseas gambling websites under the enhanced powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Mr. Fletcher confirmed that the ACMA “will be moving quickly to block at least one website in the short term and it will be actively exercising its powers in response to complaints.”
Online sites such as Curacao-based Emu Casino and FairGo are specifically branded to appeal to the Australian market and are expected to be among the first to be blocked under the new policy.
Mr. Fletcher explained the rationale behind the decision: “There’s quite a regular stream of complaints from Australians who place bets on these sites and when they win, they find it very difficult to collect their money. So, these sites will take real money, but they won’t pay out. They’re not licensed or regulated in Australia. That means they don’t have consumer safeguards in place, it also means they’re not paying any tax.”
The Australian government estimates that its citizens spend up to A$400 million (€248 million) on illegal gambling websites each year, amounting to around A$100 million (€62 million) in lost tax revenues.