With threats of stiff civil penalties from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), unlicensed online gaming operators are forced to stop operations in the region.
ACMA recently intensified hunt for brands operating illegally in the country and has engaged with companies that were breaking the law. BetOnline.ag, SportsBetting.ag, and TigerGaming are the next three internationally licensed operators to exit the Australian Gaming market to avoid being a target of ACMA investigators.
Operators Close Australian Accounts
All three operators have closed off their gaming sites to Australian players. Players within the region received email notices regarding the state of their account. They, however, still have access to their account balance so they can immediately withdraw all their remaining funds.
To help players with the process, all withdrawal limits have been lifted to give TigerGaming account holders the chance to cash out all their money. Players have only until April 30, 2018 to cash out their funds from their TigerGaming account.
Australian players on other gaming sites should contact support to request manual cash out. Meanwhile, other gaming sites will re-open an Australian account for 24 hours to give players the option to withdraw their funds.
Some operators mentioned their intention of stopping services within Australia in the email notification sent to players. TigerGaming said that the brand made the decision to exit the country because of changes made in the Australian gaming law and the implemented Interactive Gambling Amendment Act.
| Related: Pinnacle Exits Australia for Lack of License
Harsh Penalties for Unlicensed Gaming Operators
Australia’s regulation board enforces the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 to gaming operators. The Act intends to protect the country’s citizens from the negative effects of gambling. International gaming operators found a gray area to the act, which allows them to operate in the country. Previously, one of the workarounds to the law was to utilize mobile phones when placing bets on a sporting event.
To remove the gray areas and loopholes from the Act, Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge filed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill in 2016. The amended Interactive Gambling Act stripped off international operators the protection they have enjoyed in the country. ACMA now has the power to apply to the Federal Court to impose civil penalties against unlicensed operators.
The civil penalties are the reasons gaming sites like LadyHammer Casino and Pinnacle are wary of catching ACMA’s attention. Unlicensed operators will be charged with AU$1.35 million per day and companies with AU$6.75 million a day if authorities found them to be violating Australia’s gambling law.
The authority office can also report violating operators with international licenses in other jurisdictions. Individuals who break the law will be arrested the moment they enter Australian airspace.
Many international operators have no choice but to leave the Australian market because the country only provides licenses to sportsbooks. This leaves online casino and poker room operators with no other recourse than to stop providing services in Australia.