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ACMA launches legal proceedings over illegal online gambling

| By Robert Fletcher
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has commenced civil penalty proceedings in Federal Court against three parties over allegations of illegal online gambling.
ACMA in play betting

According to the ACMA, each case relates to the provision of prohibited online gambling services through “PPPfish”, a service that was later rebranded as “Shuffle Gaming” and later “Redraw Poker”.

These brands, the ACMA alleged, were online poker services – a type of gambling service that is prohibited under section of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA).

Launching civil penalty proceedings, the ACMA singled out three parties that were involved with the running and promoting of these services.

Rhys Edward Jones is alleged to have provided these prohibited online gambling services to Australians between March 2020 and March 2021, while Diverse Link Pty delivered these services from March 2021 to the present.

Brenton Lee Buttigieg was also named by the ACMA, with the organisation saying he was involved in promoting and referring customers to those services.

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

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

The ACMA said that the alleged breaches of the IGA carry a maximum penalty of AU$1.7m (£942,503/€1.1m/US$1.2m) per contravention for individuals and five times this amount for companies.

As the matter is before the courts, the ACMA said it would not provide any further comment at this time.

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