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ACMA commences civil proceedings against online gambling service providers

News Online 26 Apr 2022

ACMA commences civil proceedings against online gambling service providers

By Peter Lynch

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against a handful of well-known local poker identities.

Rhys Edward Jones, Diverse Link Pty Ltd (Diverse Link), and Brenton Lee Buttigieg have all allegedly been running illegal poker services in contravention of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA).

Jones allegedly provided prohibited online gambling services to Australians from March 2020 to March 2021, Diverse Link provided such services from March 2021 to the present, while Buttigieg was involved in promoting and referring customers to those services.

It follows a detailed investigation from the ACMA into the prohibited online gambling services, which originally operated under the name PPPfish, but later rebranded to Shuffle Gaming, and later Redraw Poker.

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

The ACMA explained: “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.”

The ACMA noted that the maximum penalties payable by an individual is up to AU$1.7m (US$1.2m) per contravention, and five times that amount for companies.

The authority, which is responsible for enforcing prohibitions against the provision or advertising of illegal interactive gambling services in Australia, added that as the matter is now before court, it will not be providing any further comment.

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