The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced it will pay special attention to the growing number of “affiliate services that promote and drive traffic to illegal online casinos”, which are often based offshore .
Such affiliate websites are also often disguised as independent reviewers of gambling services and are posing an increasing risk to the Australian public, where gambling loses per capita are the highest in the world.
The announcement comes after a surge in the number of complaints about online gambling affiliates. The Australian media regulator says it has received 314 enquiries and complains during the third quarter of the year alone, 87% of which or 275 were deemed complaints valid for investigation under the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. These include over 90 anonymous complaints about affiliate websites only in August.
From July to September the ACMA blocked a total of 96 websites in order to prevent Australians from accessing illegal offshore gambling offerings.
According to the regulator the IP blocking has been successful in preventing traffic from Australia, citing 90% – 100% reduction of visitors from the country to websites which have been blocked.
“Our experience is that website blocking has been an effective tool in disrupting (although not preventing) the provision of illegal online gambling and affiliate services to end users in Australia,” ACMA said in a recent report.
In a separate development online casinos in Australia will soon be forced to feature new warnings on all advertisements in an effort to dissuade people from taking excessive risks. According to Guardian, the new set of rules in the National Consumer Protection Framework will come into force in April 2023.
The new warnings will include messages such as “Chances are you’re about to lose.”, “Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?”, “What’s gambling really costing you?”, “What are you prepared to lose today? Set a deposit limit.”, “Imagine what you could be buying instead.”, “You win some. You lose more.” and “What are you really gambling with?” and will be included in all gambling ads on TV, radio, apps, digital or print advertising, social media, and websites.
According to government statistics Australia has the highest gambling losses in the world, averaging 1276 USD a capita each year.