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HomeLifestyleWin BettingACMA Pressures Curaçao Over Offshore Online Casino Operators

ACMA Pressures Curaçao Over Offshore Online Casino Operators


The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is getting tough on overseas online casino operators who are offering their services illegally in Australia. The Australian online gambling industry has exploded in the last few years, despite the fact that online casinos cannot currently be licensed out of Australia itself. No small contingent of these operators have been servicing many Australian clients from the tiny island nation of Curaçao, near Venezuela.

Moreover, the ACMA has cautioned Curaçao that over 90 operators registered in the country have been letting Australians gamble on their sites illegally. This is despite being warned by the ACMA that said casinos were breaching Australian laws pertaining to online gambling. Rather than resorting to such illicit sites, players based in this jurisdiction are advised to play australiancasinoclub pokies, since providers listed here are trustworthy and fully licensed.

Things are changing in Curaçao

Curaçao, a tiny island off the coast of Venezuela, has four major licences dished out to a number of licensees, however, these licensees can also then offer sublicenses to other online casinos that offer offshore services. These sub-licensees have little oversight by Curaçao itself, but rather are governed by the companies that hold the master licences. This unique situation has put the Finance department of the nation in the spotlight, due to pressure from international gambling bodies.

In response to this pressure, Curaçao is introducing a different licensing scheme, which will go into effect by the end of 2023. The new scheme will require current sublicense holders to apply for a new licence with the overseeing body in Curaçao.

This represents a large change for the country, and it will be interesting to see what the effect is on the online gambling industry that has sprung up over the past years. It may now be trickier for companies to register an online gambling business from within the country than it has been in the past. However, the country has noted that there will not be much change for the operators who are currently under sublicenses.

The terms of the new licensing have not yet been released, nor is there any confirmation of the final announcement of the new scheme.

The ACMA and Curaçao

The ACMA has taken a stronger stance recently, as they chase not just operators themselves, as they have done in the past, but follow up with countries who are licensing these operators. Of the 90 operators licensed in Curaçao offering their services illegally to Australians, plenty of the sites are distinctly geared towards Aussie players. Phrases like “G’Day Cobber” have been used in online advertising, alongside Australian imagery and other shady practices. These sites are not just offering their services indiscriminately globally, they are marketing directly to Australians.

Despite notices to cease these operations, as well as other stoppages like IP blocking, many of the sites continue to operate, which prompted the ACMA to approach the government of Curaçao directly.

While the ACMA can ask other countries to change their licensing conditions, these countries are under no obligation to make any changes, since it is their own jurisdiction and it is up to them to govern as they see fit.

Online gambling in Australia

Online gambling is skyrocketing, just as it has in the rest of the world, with plenty of Aussies placing their bets at online operators. While Australia offers licences to sports betting companies, casino operations are currently off the table and are likely not going to be offered any time soon.

Australia’s largest casino company to date, Crown Casino, has been in the news over the past few years, thanks to its shady offerings and flouting of laws. The operator is currently under fierce scrutiny and has copped fines, denial of services, and more stops, in response to investigations into their business dealing. Unfortunately, this has tainted the casino industry within the country, and other operators are feeling the effects.

For legal sports betting, however, things are a different story, with the advertising of services everywhere and more and more people picking up a betting app or two.

Offshore online gambling

Despite countries like Australia not offering online casino licensing, and banning offshore gambling sites from serving their people, it still happens. As the players do not get into trouble with the law, and neither do the casinos themselves, as they do not technically operate within the country, it makes for a very grey area. Places like Curacao can offer licenses which operators can then take advantage of to get around these sorts of rules. Because there is no international law regarding how all this works, it is
up to bodies like the ACMA to try and approach these topics diplomatically with their international peers – to varying degrees of effectiveness.

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