ACMA issues first blocking orders against offshore lottery sites

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued its first blocking orders against offshore lottery websites.

This comes as the ACMA ruled that two sites were operating in the country illegally.

The ACMA issues blocking orders

Today, the ACMA requested Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block illegal offshore lottery websites We Love Lotto and Red Fox Lotto.

Authority member Fiona Cameron said the two websites will be the first lottery sites blocked in Australia after ACMA investigations found they offer tickets in major overseas online lotteries and are not licensed in Australia, which is prohibited under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Cameron explained: “We Love Lotto and Red Fox Lotto are both operating illegally in Australia, meaning there are no consumer safeguards in place for players.

“Blocking illegal offshore sites protects Australians from potentially dodgy operators, where there is little or no recourse if things go wrong. Lottery services that are licensed in Australia and operating legally have important safeguards that consumers expect.”

While these are the first lottery services to be blocked, the ACMA has been requesting ISPs block illegal casino-style gambling sites since November 2019.

A report from the ACMA, published today, shows that in the 2020–21 financial year the ACMA targeted 55 services for site blocking, resulting in a majority experiencing a drop in Australian visitors of at least 90%.

“We are very pleased with the outcome and it shows that the steps we are taking to combat illegal online gambling in Australia have had a positive impact,” added Cameron.

Other sites blocked by the ACMA

In June of this year, the ACMA requested ISPs in Australia to block access to offshore gambling domains operated by Kings Chance Service.

Following an investigation carried out by the ACMA, it was found that Kings Chance Service was operating in breach of the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act. The ACMA carried out the investigation after numerous complaints were made about the online brand.

Then in August, the ACMA issued its first blocking requests against affiliate gambling advertising websites.

The ACMA issued blocking orders against seven affiliate websites promoting gambling products.

These sites included:

  • Aussie Casino Hex
  • Australia OK Casinos
  • Aussie Online Pokies
  • Pokies
  • Australian Casino Club
  • Australian Gambling
  • True Blue Casinos

The ACMA said those sites had been presenting themselves as independent reviewers of gambling services, adding that blocking the websites is a priority as they provide direct links to illegal gambling services and often receive a commission for providing them with traffic.

At the time, Cameron said: “These marketing sites can push you to illegal gambling services that do not have the protections that go with licensed and regulated services. We often get complaints from consumers that winnings are not honoured and that incentives and pressure tactics target problem gamblers.”