ACMA commences civil proceedings against gambling service providers

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the country’s Federal Court against three parties for alleged violations of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

The Australian government statutory authority has said that this comes after a “detailed” investigation into prohibited online gambling services was carried out, and which could carry maximum individual penalties of up to A$1.66m.

This refers to an entity that was originally operating under the PPPfish moniker but that subsequently rebranded to Shuffle Gaming and later Redraw Poker

It is alleged by the ACMA that these were online poker services, which is a type of gambling service that is prohibited under section five of the IGA.

Rhys Edward Jones is alleged to have provided prohibited online gambling services to Australians from March 2020 to March 2021, while Brenton Lee Buttigieg is thought to have been involved in promoting and referring customers. It is claimed that Diverse Link provided the offerings from March 2021 to the present.

The ACMA alleges that “since March 2, 2020, the services provided by Jones and then Diverse Link offered Australians the ability to play poker online for money. 

“Players join poker clubs through a mobile app, can then purchase chips from separate websites, via bank transfer or bitcoin, which are then credited to their account in the poker club and can be used to play poker. Chips can then be redeemed for money or bitcoin.”

For the alleged violation, the ACMA, which is responsible for enforcing prohibitions against the provision or advertising of illegal interactive gambling services in Australia, advises that the maximum penalties payable by an individual is up to $1.66m per contravention, and five times that amount for companies.