How to Shut Down Unlicensed Casinos
Nowadays the number of virtual betting and gambling websites are growing enormously. Casino industry has always been extremely lucrative. Many operators want a bigger piece of the pie for themselves. And there those who try to circumvent the law to make a killing.
Not long ago several online casinos catering to gamblers from Australia were suspected of operating without an Australian licence. Although some investigation has taken place, these gambling websites have not been banned. Ten casino that appeared to supply unlicensed services to the Australian gambling market are still working despite the fact that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) declared that it knew about them. Most of the casinos have Australian theme including True Blue and PlayCroco which position themselves as “online casinos for Australian pokie lovers”.
Revenue Worth The Risk
Six internet casinos of these ten give local contact phone numbers. It is forbidden to provide unlicensed online gambling services to Australian citizens. Otherwise, it results in an AUD 1.1 million fine a day under the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA). The sum is huge, isn’t it? However, Australia is a potentially very beneficial source of revenue. It ranges between AUD 65 billion and AUD 90 billion taking into account the growth in betting and online gambling last year because of the coronavirus lockdowns.
Difficulties In Investigation
There are certain difficulties in investigating gambling websites since they do not reveal their ownership. They also hide their registration behind protection services which Cloudflare, an infrastructure company offers. Nine of the ten above-mentioned sites do this.
The representatives of these casinos assert that they have a licence valid in Australia. And have lots of customers all around the globe. A marketing firm that was named as a contact on press releases of some the casinos did not answer the questions stated in email and social media messaging.
The identity of the developers of the pokie machines offered by these casinos have been called into question as well. These sites have games provided by Real Time Gaming (RTG) and Spinlogic Gaming.
Thus, in summer, 2020, a new pokie named Wild Hog Luau appeared in PlayCroco. The developer of this game is RTG and the brand’s name is shown on the two casinos of the ten ones. The Real Time Gaming Is related to Endon Technologies that is registered in the Isle of Man jurisdiction. In one interview, an Endon’s director said, “Real Time Gaming is a brand and Endon as an entity has a licence to provide RTG branded content to 3rd party B2B or B2C operators”.
Hong Kong RTG Slots that provides online pokies such as Wild Hog Luau say that they are “the Asia-focused and facing trading name of Endon Technologies based in the Isle of Man”. And there is the RTG logo on Endon’s official website. But the other Endon director, Tina Rawlinson, said that they hadn’t work with those 10 casinos and RTG wasn’t a “trading name of Endon Technologies Limited” and they had no links with Spinlogic. She confirmed, “none of the casinos you have highlighted are operated by clients of Endon Technologies Limited.”
SpinLogic did not give any comments on their official site. They do not post any contact phone numbers or email addresses on their site that’s why you have a possibility to keep in touch with them only through a special form on their website.
According to an Acma spokesman, they know about all the above-mentioned things. He reported they focus on “the providers of these illegal casino services as well as supporting services including software providers and affiliates, to disrupt the supply and marketing of these services in the Australian market”. He also added “We are proceeding with the enforcement and disruption options available to us. This includes requesting Australian internet service providers to block access to these websites.”
Seem as Clean as a Whistle
Acma has discovered that PlayCroco and some other casinos are providing services in breach of the IGA and is going to ask Australian ISPs to block the sites.
They already asked ISPs to block six casinos including Cherry Gold Casino, Xpokies and Red Dog Casino. However, there are some problems in investigating some sites and despite a year-long investigation they could not shut these casinos down because offshore gambling was “a challenging and complex environment to regulate.”
Trying Their Best
They are aware of the fact that Australian phone numbers are used by some unlicensed casinos to get information about the numbers from Telstra.
ACMA in cooperation with some stakeholders in the internet casino raised awareness of country’s online gambling laws to minimize the provision of illegal gambling services.
Acma’s spokesman said they were a success in their enforcement program and about 90% of illegal services withdraw “from the Australian market following contact by the Acma during the investigation or after receiving a formal warning”.