The ACMA, or the Australian Communications and Media Authorityand the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (YOUR) garden agreed to a Memorandum of Understandingor an MoU, in an effort to support cooperation in gambling regulation throughout Australia.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) regulates internet gambling throughout Australia in compliance with the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA), which has been amended multiple times.
The Northern Territory of Australiathrough its Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade along with the Northern Territory Racing Commission, licenses and regulates Australian bookmakers under the Racing and Betting Act 1983. Through this MoU published on March 2, 2023, the two agencies have agreed to work together in collaboration in matters of gambling compliance monitoring, enforcement, and education.
What is the Interactive Gambling Act?
Australia passed the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 on June 28th of 2001. The law primarily targets internet gambling operators offering real-money gambling services to Australian consumers. Outside of sports betting, the IGA effectively bans all online gambling operators from catering to Australians.
The IGA was amended back in 2017 and then again in 2019 in efforts to tighten restrictions and crack down even further on online gambling operators. Since the most recent amendment, the ACMA has been on a tearadding site after site to its ever-growing blacklist of supposedly “illegal” gambling websites.
In late 2019, the ACMA first announced that it would begin to exert control by ordering Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block Australian citizens’ access to specific online gambling sites that it deems to be illegal via the Telecom Act s313.
Does the Northern Territory Currently Regulate Gambling?
The Northern Territory of Australia, through its Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, is responsible for regulating horse racing wagers, greyhound and dog racing wagers, and all sports betting in the Northern Territory of Australia.
The Racing and Betting Act 1983 is the legislation that the Northern Territory is primarily responsible for enforcing. The Racing and Betting Act 1983 is a highly detailed piece of legislation at 134 pages in total.
Without becoming too caught up by the nuances and detail of this document, the Racing and Betting Act lays out all of the rules relating to horse and dog racing wagers, sports betting, and licensing requirements for operators in the Northern Territory of Australia.
The ACMA Has Ramped Up Recent Enforcement
The ACMA has continually insisted on enforcing the amended Interactive Gambling Act which is the legislation in place that handles and regulates gambling throughout Australia. Over the past few years, the main tactic employed by the ACMA has been asking Internet Service Providers to block citizens’ access to supposedly illegal online gambling websites.
There are numerous examples of this kind of ACMA enforcement as there are now nearly 700 gambling sites on the blacklist. Earlier this year, the ACMA blocked six sites including Pokie Surf and then blocked Pokizino and ABA Lucky 33 shortly thereafter.
The ACMA has also been cracking down on unsolicited spam like when the agency recently fined BetDeluxe $50,172 for sending gambling advertisements via SMS messages that either didn’t contain the sender details or did not allow consumers to unsubscribe.
The ACMA and NTDITT Agree to a Memorandum of Understanding
In perusing the MoU, it becomes a bit murky as to what this agreement actually entails. In the simplest of terms, this is an agreement between both parties to work with each other, share information, and assist each other in enforcing the rules and regulations that are currently in place.
There are two points within the document that provide a clearer picture of what this Memorandum means for Australian consumers. Item 3 covers the Purpose and Scope of the memorandum while Item 4, a Statement of Intent, provides additional clarity.
As we can see, the Purpose and Scope of this memorandum seem to be somewhat vague, but it is clear that there are many gambling matters that the ACMA and DITT share a common interest in as the DITT is responsible for licensing some of the largest Australian bookmakers. The two agencies have agreed to cooperate with each other in matters related to gambling licensure, self-exclusion, and unsolicited communications, like the ACMA’s recent enforcement action against BetDeluxe.
In examining Item 4, we can also see a Statement of Intent which articulates exactly what the two agencies plan on accomplishing through this memorandum.
The Memorandum of Understanding also indicates that the two agencies will work together and cooperate to address problem gambling. The ACMA and the DITT claim that they will work to implement BetStop, a tool that problem gamblers can use to exclude themselves from being able to gamble.
The effectiveness of BetStop is questionable as gamblers who experience harm and losses never recover any funds, but it certainly is important to offer problem gamblers resources and ways to exclude themselves from online gambling.
Safe Gambling and Poker Exists in Australia Today
Although the ACMA and the Northern Territory may seem somewhat daunting to the average player, individual gamblers shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The ACMA and the Northern Territory work to protect consumers and to that effect, the agencies only target gambling operators and large companies.
In reality, nothing has changed with this new Memorandum of Understanding. Australian consumers can still play poker safely online. If you’re an Australian interested in learning more about the best online poker options, please feel free to peruse this detailed Australian internet poker guide.
For any Australians who are more interested in playing casino games like pokies (slot machines), table games, live dealer games, or specialty games like bingo, feel free to consult this guide to the best online casinos catering to Australians. Although there are a number of casinos still serving Australians reputably, Joe Fortune is our top recommendation because it boasts an excellent selection of games, the site offers solid bonuses, and it is related to the longstanding Ignition and Bovada brands.