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ACMA moves to block thepokies.net

16th June 2022 10:14 am GMT

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested that Australian internet service providers (ISPs) block access to illegal gambling website thepokies.net.

The request marks one of the most significant websites to be blocked since the ACMA first started using site blocking in November 2019. Payments to the site are estimated to run into tens of millions of dollars, with data from Similarweb showing that around 30,000 players from Australia visit the site each month.

The website offers real-money online casino style games, which are prohibited in Australia under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that while the authority has requested ISPs to block more than 500 illegal gambling websites to date, thepokies.net is one of the most substantial in terms of potential harm to the community.

“We have received more complaints about thepokies.net this year than any other illegal gambling website, and it is clearly doing a lot of harm to the Australian community,” said O’Loughlin. “Complaints have ranged from people who have lost significant amounts of money through to the site refusing to honour deposits and winnings. By blocking access to sites like this we are sending a strong message that the ACMA can and will take action to stop illegal operators from targeting Australians.”

Over 160 illegal services have pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017.

Ms O’Loughlin said consumers using illegal gambling websites do not have the important customer protections that come with licensed services.

“If one of these sites decides to keep your money, and we know that happens quite regularly, there is nothing you can do about it,” she warned.

Along with thepokies.net, the ACMA has also requested ISPs to block access to Azure Hand, Abo Casino, Betroom, 777Bay, Space Lilly, Jet Casino, Katsu Bet and Winz.

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