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ACMA Moves to Block Major Illegal Gambling Website

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ACMA Moves to Block Major Illegal Gambling Website
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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block the illegal gambling website thepokies.net.

This is one of the most significant websites to be blocked since the ACMA started using this regulatory tool in November 2019. Payments to the site are estimated to run into tens of millions of dollars. Data from Similarweb shows there are around 30,000 Australian visitors to the site each month (based on mobile and desktop data).

An ACMA investigation found the site was operating online casino-style games, which are prohibited in Australia under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that while to date the regulator had requested ISPs to block more than 500 illegal gambling websites, thepokies.net is one of the most substantial in terms of potential harm to the community.

“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,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Complaints have ranged from people who have lost significant amounts of money through to the site refusing to honour deposits and winnings.

“By blocking access to sites like this we are sending a strong message that the ACMA can and will take action to stop illegal operators from targeting Australians.”

Website blocking is just one element of the ACMA’s strategy to disrupt illegal gambling, which includes industry engagement, targeted enforcement and public education. Over 160 illegal services have pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017.

Ms O’Loughlin said consumers using illegal gambling websites do not have the important customer protections that come with licenced services.

“If one of these sites decides to keep your money, and we know that happens quite regularly, there is nothing you can do about it,” she said.

Along with thepokies.net, the ACMA has also requested ISPs to block illegal gambling sites Azure Hand, Abo Casino, Betroom, 777Bay, Space Lilly, Jet Casino, Katsu Bet and Winz.

Australia

IAGR releases conference program for IAGR2022

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The International Association of Gaming Regulators has released the program for its
annual conference, taking place in Melbourne, Australia from 17 to 20 October.


The program
is available on IAGR’s website, with earlybird ticket prices on offer until 15
August.


IAGR Vice President and UK Gambling Commission Director, Ben Haden, believes the
lineup is one of the strongest yet, reflecting a time of disruption through a lens of
innovation.


Over four days, our speakers and attendees will delve into global regulatory challenges,
safer gambling initiatives, security updates and technology advances impacting the
industry,” explains Ben.


With sessions including ‘Why the Women’s World Cup 2023 will be the biggest betting
event ever’, ‘An introduction to gambling in the Metaverse’, ‘Regulating emerging
technology’, ‘Gamblinglike reward mechanisms in video games’ and ‘How regulators can
use lived experience to prevent gambling harm’, it’s clear we have a richly diverse,
fascinating and relevant lineup.


This year’s speakers include:

Michael Morton
, Senior Policy Counsel, Nevada Gaming Control Board
Fran Thorn
, Chair, Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission
Earle Hall
, VC, International Gaming Standards Association & CEO @ AXES.ai
Andrew Rhodes
, CEO, Gambling Commission United Kingdom
Professor
Sally Gainsbury, Director, Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic,
Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney

Stephen Bryan
, QC, Special Manager for the Melbourne Casino Operator
Paul Buck
, CEO, Epic Risk Management


More sessions and panellists are expected to be confirmed over the coming weeks.


Dr Jason Lane, IAGR President and Chief Executive of the Jersey Gambling
Commission, says he’s particularly looking forward to being able to greet regulators from
across the globe in person.


“Many gambling regulators, including me, couldn’t travel to last year’s conference in
Boston,” says Jason. “IAGR2022 will be an amazing opportunity to reunite, connect and
build relationships with regulators, industry stakeholders and thought leaders in person
in beautiful Melbourne.”


IAGR2022 is hosted by the
Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

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Australia

CROWN CASINO GIVEN CONDITIONAL APPROVAL TO OPERATE GAMING

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CROWN CASINO GIVEN CONDITIONAL APPROVAL TO OPERATE GAMING
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The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority has given Crown Sydney casino conditional approval to open its gaming operations

The Authority’s Chairperson, Philip Crawford, said Crown will be allowed to conditionally begin casino operations, giving the Authority the chance to monitor the final phase of its restricted gaming licence suitability assessment, after the 2021 Bergin Inquiry found Crown unsuitable to hold the licence.

“Under the Authority’s supervision, Crown has rebuilt its gaming model from the ground up, which has meant deep structural change around governance, anti-money laundering measures and corporate culture,” Mr Crawford said.

“After more than one year’s work with Crown, the Authority is pleased to have reached a stage where Crown can open its casino operations on a conditional basis.

“Given the need to observe the changes in operation as well as ensure changes are embedded in the business, the Authority will consider approval of Crown’s suitability until the end of the conditional gaming period, which could run between 18 months and two years.

“The new systems and internal control measures have been set up and will be in place from day one.”

Mr Crawford said the Bergin Inquiry highlighted the scale and scope of issues to be remediated by Crown, with potentially billions of dollars having been laundered through its casinos.

“Crown has been required to implement a raft of stringent controls to prevent money laundering and criminal infiltration in its NSW business model. What was happening in Crown’s interstate operations will not be repeated in NSW,” Mr Crawford said.

“With a complete clean-out of the board and senior executive, Crown has made significant progress and has agreed to ongoing work to regain its casino licence.”

The Authority has also approved Blackstone’s suitability to hold a casino licence in NSW. Having gained the other necessary approvals from Victorian and West Australian regulators and the Federal Court, Blackstone takes over as the new owner of Crown on Friday 24 June.

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Australia

BMM Testlabs Promotes Service Delivery VPs in Australia

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BMM Testlabs Promotes Service Delivery VPs in Australia
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BMM Testlabs, the world’s original gaming test lab and product certification consultancy, is pleased to announce the Australian promotions of Thiru Nadesapillai to VP ServiceDelivery, EGMs, and Kethish Namasivayam to VP Service Delivery, Systems. They will both report to Anna Fernando, Senior Vice President of Operations, APAC.
Kirk White, Executive Vice President, APAC & AF, commented, “I am honored to promote Thiru and Kethish, as they have been great leaders in BMM Australia’s technical services team for many years. They have excelled in their roles as regional technical subject matter experts and support our staff and customers alike across the Asia/Pacific region. Thiru and Kethish are extremely focused on customer delivery, providing internal testing quality and strong process efficiencies, ensuring that BMM continues to be the testlab of choice in the APAC region.”
Nadesapillai commented, “I currently manage BMM Australia’s EGM (electronic gaming machine) platform and games testing for the Australian, Asian, and international markets. I’m fortunate to be supported by experienced leadership, which allows me to focus on general product concepts, testing strategies, and overall improvements. I am very grateful to be part of such a great team at BMM, where we work together globally to support our customer’s product certifications and approvals.”
Nadesapillai joined BMM in 1999 and has led our Technical Delivery team in Melbourne for many years.
Namasivayam continued, “I am proud to be part of BMM Australia’s talented team, and excited to have been part of BMM’s growth into a global service provider for our customers over the years. Given the many challenges we have overcome throughout the pandemic in the APAC gaming industry, our team has continued to grow stronger. I look forward to leading my team in continuing to provide our expert services to BMM’s customers and contributing to our global growth.”
Namasivayam joined BMM in 2002 and has led our Service Delivery team in Sydney for many years.
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