We here at NZCasinoClub.com always thoroughly vet the real money online casinos that we talk about, however, there are still plenty of illegal gambling service providers out there. As we already know, Australian legislators don’t take these things lightly, considering their hefty fine of Betr for advertising violations. This time, it was more than a simple breach of advertising laws.
A high-profile verdict has recently been delivered by the Australian Federal Court against Diverse Link Pty Ltd, a digital gambling services provider. The company was put under the scanner due to allegations of unlicensed and illegal online gambling activities. The court's verdict has resulted in the company being hit with a hefty fine of AU$5 million. This decision is a culmination of legal proceedings initiated following reported breaches of Australian online gambling legislation.
The lawsuit that sparked the court action was against Diverse Link Pty Ltd and two individuals - Rhys Edward Jones and Brenton Lee Buttigieg. The plaintiffs in the case claimed that Diverse Link had systematically contravened the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. The company allegedly provided unlicensed online gambling services for over a year, from March 15, 2021, to April 13, 2022. The core platform for these illegal activities was the website Redraw Poker, which facilitated gambling practices not in alignment with established regulatory frameworks.
Court documents divulged the detailed operational strategy of the illicit gambling website, Redraw Poker. The platform made provisions for players to purchase gambling chips worth AU$1. The transactions for these chips could be carried out either through Bitcoin or via traditional bank transfers. Federal Court Justice David Thomas revealed that the unregulated gambling activities corresponded to about AU$4.2 million in deposits. However, it was emphasised that this substantial figure did not include deposits made through the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
The legal action initiated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority can be traced back to complaints raised by two customers of the online gambling operator. These aggrieved parties had reportedly lost thousands of dollars on the Redraw Poker platform. One player, in particular, criticised the website for its complete lack of responsible gambling features. The site enabled users to create multiple accounts under false identities and failed to honour requests for self-exclusion, a pivotal feature in responsible gambling platforms.
In the court's final judgement, Justice Thomas made it clear that the AU$5 million fine was intended to serve as a stark deterrent. This penalty, he explained, would make other companies think twice before considering violation of the country's stringent gambling laws. He elaborated, “A penalty at that level is, on the evidence before me, more than merely the cost of doing business and will give effect to the purpose of general deterrence.” Despite this resolution, it remains unclear if the full sum of the fine can be recovered from Diverse Link.
Simultaneously, in an attempt to protect customers from illegal online gambling providers, ACMA has taken stringent action. The authority has recently urged internet service providers to block access to 12 illegal gambling websites. This initiative, authorised by ACMA, is part of a larger campaign to clamp down on illegal online gambling activities and ensure the safety of online users.
In the aftermath of the hefty fine and subsequent ruling, ACMA will proceed with the deregistration of Diverse Link Pty Ltd. This significant step sends a resounding message to online gambling operators about the severe consequences of violating established online gambling regulations. The authorities' decision underlines the commitment to maintaining the integrity of online gambling and ensuring fair practices in the digital landscape.
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