According to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, the move from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is part of a larger crackdown against unlicensed or potentially shady online gambling domains and comes some seven weeks after the watchdog commenced unconnected civil actions in federal court against a trio of iGaming entities.
The ACMA reportedly disclosed that it opted to institute the immediate ban against ThePokies.net after receiving a slew of customer complaints about the unlicensed site. The domain purportedly attracts around 30,000 individual Australian punters every month but many of these had moaned about losing large amounts of money or not receiving their winnings following apparent jackpots.
Nerida O’Loughlin serves as the Chair for the ACMA and she reportedly divulged that ThePokies.net offers online casino and pub-style poker machine games such as the dinosaur-themed Raptor Doublemax, the ancient Greece-inspired Gates of Olympus and the Candy Crush-esque Sweet Bonanza. She purportedly went on to note that the enterprise is awash with cash despite the fact that such titles as well as those based on roulette, blackjack and scratchcards are banned in Australia.
O’Loughlin reportedly told the newspaper…
“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.”
The ACMA reportedly detailed that its campaign against ThePokies.net represents one of the most significant since it began ordering site shutdowns in 2019, which has so far resulted in local Internet service providers restricting access to about 500 individual domains. Nevertheless, the regulator purportedly admitted to being frustrated by the fact that many of these services later reappear under different branding despite the threat of fines that can top out at approximately $767,000.
The Sydney Morning Herald went on to report that Australia-based punters are annually thought to spend at least $279 million with unlicensed online gambling domains while the yearly tally for the wider Asia-Pacific region is thought to be closer to $41.8 billion. The newspaper additionally observed that this lucrative market received a huge boost during the nation’s recent coronavirus-related lockdowns with males aged between 18 and 34 the most likely to have picked up the habit.
A recent report from the Australian Gambling Research Centre reportedly found that one in every 20 Australians who now enjoy online gambling had placed their very first wager during the country’s initial eight-week lockdown, which began in March of 2020. However, the ACMA purportedly finished by asserting that this simultaneously saw the number of locals thought to be dealing with an addiction to gambling jump by 3% year-on-year to stand at something like 11% of the entire population.