Australia fed up with offshore casino sites, demands action from Curacao

Australia has had enough of the many overseas casino sites with iGaming licenses issued by Curacao.

Apr 8, 2024
3 min read
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online casino sites around the world that hold
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online casino sites around the world that hold licenses issued by government officials on the tiny island of Curacao. Australia is trying to crack down on the number of illegal gambling sites that its citizens have access


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Australia fed up with offshore casino sites, demands action from Curacao

Australia has had enough of the many overseas casino sites holding online gambling licenses issued by Curacao that continue to target its residents.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it has sent a number of requests to the Curacao Gambling Control Board (CGCB) of the small semi-autonomous Caribbean island nation to seize the operations of iGaming companies that continue to operate illegal online gambling sites and platforms in Australia. After repeated requests, Australian government agencies said they had finally received word that action would be taken on the Dutch-controlled islands.

ACMA works with overseas regulators to help us enforce and combat illegal services. Regarding Curacao, we have written to them to inquire about individual services that are licensed within their jurisdiction,” an ACMA spokesperson told the Guardian.

ACMA officials say they have discovered nearly 1,000 accessible websites across Australia that promote and operate banned online pokies, interactive table games, bingo, lottery games and sports betting. Many of these websites operate under licenses issued by the CGCB.

Upcoming Reforms

Curacao is a major center for online gambling, with many platforms catering to remote gamblers from countries where this type of gambling is prohibited. Like Australia, China is an important destination for offshore companies.

Curacao currently allows its four main gambling license holders to grant licenses to third-party online gambling companies. These offshore operators, said to number in the hundreds, have not undergone any suitability testing. Many gambling officials in countries such as Australia say there is little transparency and control over sublicensees.

Curacao admitted last year that its gambling regulations need to improve. The island is establishing the Curacao Gambling Authority, which will be tasked with issuing licenses and regulating online gambling concessions.

Master license holders will no longer be allowed to bundle their licenses with subcontractors, a move expected to shut down hundreds of iGaming sites and prompt operators to look elsewhere for licenses.

We will continue to explore further regulatory collaboration with overseas gambling regulators and welcome any opportunity to work with the Curacao Gambling Authority to share information or coordinate action against the provision of online gambling services that contravene Australian law. ” added the ACMA spokesperson.

The Curacao Gambling Authority will implement a regulation requiring all iGaming licensees to provide a customer dispute form on their website and/or app. These disputes will also be submitted to regulatory agencies for resolution monitoring.

iGaming Center

Curacao isn't the only place where many online gaming companies have set up shop. Other well-known online gambling hubs include the Philippines, Malta, Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

Websites obtain some kind of operating license and then use that license to offer online casino games in countries where iGaming is not legal or regulated. Powerful countries such as the United States have in the past blocked illegal casino websites and prevented them from reaching their own Internet users.

The U.S. gambling industry estimates that U.S. citizens bet approximately $400 billion annually on illegal iGaming sites and apps. AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said this type of fraud costs federal and state tax dollars, puts consumers at risk and undermines the legal gambling industry.

“All stakeholders – policymakers, law enforcement agencies, regulators, legal entities – must work together to eradicate illegal and unregulated gambling markets,” Miller said. “This is our long-term fight to protect consumers, support communities and defend law-abiding members of the industry.”

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