Published: March 27, 2024

Curaçao Urged Repeatedly To Crack Down On Online Casinos Targeting Australians

The media watchdog has repeatedly urged authorities in the tiny Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao to stop letting online casinos target Australian consumers as it blacklists more operators.

Offshore gambling companies have been banned from targeting Australians. A large portion of the Almost 1,000 Websites Blocked By The Watchdog were licensed in Curaçao, off the coast of Venezuela, which has become a hub for online casinos due to limited oversight.

An Australian Communications and Media Authority (Acma) spokesperson said the agency had discussed its "investigations into individual services licensed in Curaçao” on six occasions since a June meeting with the regulator to "establish contact”.

"Acma engages with overseas regulatory bodies for the purposes of assisting with our enforcement and disruption efforts against illegal services,” the spokesperson said.

"In relation to Curaçao, we have written to them about individual services licensed in their jurisdiction and about updates on the Curaçao regulatory framework”.

The June meeting was prompted by an Acma complaint to Curaçao’s finance minister, Javier Silvania, which accused about 90 online casinos of continuing to target Australian consumers despite warnings they had breached the law. 

Since then, Acma has blacklisted more than two dozen gambling websites also based in Curaçao. Some remain online, describing themselves as "the best Australian online casino website” and offer "welcome bonuses” of up to $2,650. Others with Australian landing pages offer "20 free spins” or bonuses worth 75% of an initial deposit.

Currently, Curaçao has four master gambling licence holders that provide sub-licences to hundreds of offshore operators. There is little oversight of this process and a lack of transparency about who owns the sub-licences and where they are physically based. Acma believes the companies are also unaccountable.


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