ACMA Sues Alleged Online Gambling Service Providers in Federal Court

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court alleging a breach of Section 15(2A) of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) by:

  • Rhys Edward Jones, who provided banned online gambling services to Australians from March 2020 to March 2021;
  • Diverse Link Pty Ltd (Diverse Link), which provided these services from March 2021 to present; and
  • Brenton Lee Buttigieg, who was involved in promoting and referring clients to these services.

This action follows a detailed investigation by the ACMA into the banned online gambling services, which originally operated as ‘PPPfish’ but later rebranded to ‘Shuffle Gaming’ and later to “RedrawPoker”. The ACMA alleges that these were online poker services, a type of gambling service prohibited under Section 5 of the IGA.

The ACMA alleges that, since March 2, 2020, services provided by Jones and then Diverse Link offered Australians the opportunity to play online poker for real money. Players join poker clubs through a mobile app, can then buy chips on separate websites, by bank transfer or bitcoin, which are then credited to their account in the poker club and can be used to play poker. The tokens can then be exchanged for cash or bitcoins.

The ACMA is responsible for to apply prohibiting the provision or advertising of illegal interactive gambling services in Australia.

For alleged violations, the maximum penalties payable by an individual can be up to $1.665 million per violation, and five times that amount for businesses.

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