Australia Cracks Down on Illegal Gambling During FIFA Women’s World Cup

Australia Cracks Down on Illegal Gambling During FIFA Women’s World Cup
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In a notable crackdown during one of the biggest sporting events of the year, Australian authorities have taken decisive action against illegal online gambling operations.

Here’s a rundown of the operations of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Key Takeaways

  • The ACMA reviewed 200 offshore services amidst the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, targeting illegal online gambling.
  • 21 services were investigated; 18 were found in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
  • Three services voluntarily exited the Australian market; internet service providers blocked 15 upon ACMA’s request.
  • Illegal operations included unlicensed wagering services and banned gambling forms like online casinos and in-play betting.
  • ACMA’s actions aim to protect consumers from unreliable gambling sites and ensure a safe betting environment.

The recent FIFA Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand wasn’t just a showcase of elite soccer; it also set the stage for a significant crackdown on illegal online gambling.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) reviewed 200 offshore gambling services, leading to 21 investigations and action against 18 illegal operations.

Enforcement in Action

The ACMA’s rigorous review determined that three services complied with the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, while the remaining 18 were in violation.

Illegal online gambling services, often not holding the requisite licenses to operate in Australia, were offering forms of gambling banned in the country – including popular but illegal options like online pokies and in-play betting.

The response was swift and decisive: three services chose to withdraw from the Australian market entirely, while 15 had their access blocked by Australian internet service providers, acting on requests from the ACMA. This move followed formal warnings issued to these services, underscoring the authority’s commitment.

Behind the Crackdown

Carolyn Lidgerwood, an ACMA authority member on online gambling, outlined the rationale behind these actions.

High-profile sporting events, such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup, often see a surge in online betting activity. Illegal gambling operations take this opportunity to draw in fans, sidestepping regulations and consumer protections mandated for licensed wagering services in Australia.

These illegal sites offer none of the safeguards that come with licensed operators, risking consumers’ money without assurance of fair play or secure winnings.

The Bigger Picture

The fight against illegal gambling doesn’t stop with the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The ACMA has recently requested Australian ISPs to block access to several other illegal betting sites, including Lucky7even, Zota Bet, Casino Infinity, and 50 Crowns. This ongoing effort aims to curb unlicensed gambling activities, ensuring a safer and more regulated environment for Australian bettors.

The message from the ACMA is clear: consumer protection is paramount, and the authority is willing to take decisive steps to shield Australians from the risks associated with illegal online gambling.

As the digital betting landscape evolves, regulatory bodies like the ACMA play a crucial role in defining safe and responsible gambling practices, leveraging high-profile events as a backdrop to highlight their resolve against unregulated activities within the industry.

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