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Regulatory bodies worldwide have continued to enforce rules and regulations when it comes to allowing and regulating gambling activities. Agencies like the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have levied fines, drafted threatening legal documents, and employed a host of enforcement methods in an effort to get gambling websites and operators to follow the rules. On Feb. 8, 2023, the ACMA asked Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block all of its citizens’ access to six specific online gambling websites.

ACMA Blocks Six Gambling Sites

The ACMA has been utilising this tactic with great regularity in recent years. Requesting that ISPs block access to these sites is the most common enforcement method used by the ACMA despite many questions regarding the success of these efforts.

The ACMA Continues to Enforce the Interactive Gambling Act

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The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 was amended in 2017 and then again in 2019. As a result, the Act essentially bans any and all online gambling operators from offering services to Australians. The Act requires all operators to acquire a licence, which is simply impossible for any offshore operator with the current licencing requirements.

Besides a limited number of licenced sportsbooks, Australian citizens often have to resort to using VPNs or adjusting their DNS settings in an effort to access blocked sites that offer fair and reputable gaming. While the ACMA claims it is just enforcing the rules, it seems detrimental to drive reputable operators out of Australia when customers can easily access shadier, potentially inferior sites.

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About the Blocked Sites

All of the sites that were blocked this time around offer gambling services to Australian consumers. The specific games of chance on offer vary but include casino games, like slot machines, table games, and bingo. In addition, a few of these sites – Rock n Reels being one of them – offer sports betting.

The Home Page of the Rock n Reels Casino and Sportsbook WebsiteThe Home Page of the Rock n Reels Casino and Sportsbook

There are six new gambling websites ACMA requested that Australian ISPs block access to. The latest sites that have been blocked are:

  • 24 Casino
  • Poker Surf
  • Boomerang Casino
  • Olympia Casino
  • Rock n Reels
  • Stellar Spins

As we previously touched on, the success of these efforts seems questionable at best. Players can use a VPN or alter settings, and casino operators can quickly create new URLs to circumvent the ACMA blocking access. By entering a Google search query for “Pokie Surf,” we can easily see this concept in action. The first four search results are all the same Pokie Surf Casino site only with slightly different URLs.

The First Four Results are the Same Pokie Surf Casino with Different URLsThe first four search results are the same Pokie Surf Casino only with slightly different URLs

This is a common tactic used by casino operators to circumvent the ACMA’s enforcements. If one URL is blocked, the operator can easily create a new one. As you can imagine, this can create a bit of confusion for customers looking for a safe place to gamble online.

The ACMA Keeps a Blacklist of All Blocked Sites

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Since the ACMA made its first request to block sites back in November 2019, a total of 686 supposedly illegal gambling and affiliate marketing sites have been blocked. Additionally, over 190 operators have voluntarily pulled out of the Australian market.

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Prior to this latest set of blocked sites, the most recent enforcement occurred back in December 2022 when the ACMA blocked Pokizino and ABA Lucky 33. Back in September of 2022, another 15 sites were added to the blacklist.

Unfortunately, despite many questions regarding the success of these efforts, the ACMA has continually asked ISPs to block access to gambling sites. The ACMA has also blocked gambling affiliate marketing sites in addition to drafting threatening legal documents in its quest to enforce the amended Interactive Gambling Act.

Safe Online Poker and Gambling are Still Available in AUS

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Despite the ACMA steadily blocking access to gambling sites, there are still trustworthy and safe options for Australians looking to gamble or play poker online.

For players who are primarily interested in casino gambling such as pokies (slot machines), table games, live dealer games, as well as specialty games like bingo and keno, we have curated a list of the best online casinos accepting Australian players. Our number one recommended site is Joe Fortune, about which our experts have written an 8,000+ Joe Fortune Casino review.

If you reside in Australia and you are interested in playing poker online, please feel free to consult this detailed guide to Australia online poker.

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