Diverse Link Pty Ltd Slapped With AU$5 Million Fine For Illegal Operation
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Recently, an online gambling company operating in Australia, Diverse Link Pty Ltd, has been ordered to pay a substantial fine of AU$5 million for violating the country’s interactive gambling laws. The Federal Court’s judgment comes after civil litigation was against Diverse Link Pty Ltd, Rhys Edward Jones, and Brenton Lee Buttigieg.
Unlawful Online Gambling Services Lead to Hefty Fine
The court’s ruling reveals that Diverse Link Pty Ltd utilized the Redraw Poker service to offer online gambling services, which were suspended in the country between March 15th, 2021, and April 13th, 2022. This action directly went against Australia’s gambling legislation, which prohibits offering interactive gambling services that establish a significant link between the country and its customers. Federal Court Justice David Thomas emphasized this breach in his judgment.
The Redraw Poker service provided users with the opportunity to play poker online using real money, accessible through smartphones, computers, and other devices. Despite the suspension of the service, it remained available for an extended period and operated in a sophisticated manner.
Justice Thomas confirmed that the illegal gambling service involved processes such as registration, purchasing, and redeeming poker chips for the Redraw Poker clubs. Transactions were conducted through regular bank transfers as well as Bitcoin payments. Notably, deposits totaling approximately AU$4.2 million were linked to this unlawful operation. Furthermore, the entire process lacked proper regulation and oversight, leaving problem gamblers without access to necessary support.
Redraw Poker’s Lack of Customer Support and Responsible Gambling Measures
This landmark legal case marked the first instance of civil penalties being imposed for violations of specific sections of Australia’s gambling legislation. Reports submitted by two individuals to the Australian Communications and Media Authority highlighted significant issues with the Redraw Poker service.
For instance, it was reported that customers were permitted to register multiple accounts using fake identities. Moreover, responsible gambling programs were notably absent. One individual who reported the illicit online gambling service emphasized that attempts to have his account suspended went unanswered, showcasing the operator’s lack of customer care and responsible gambling measures.
Moving Forward? : Slim Chances of Fine Recovery
Despite the substantial AUD 5 million fine, experts claim it is highly unlikely that the amount will be ever recovered. The online gambling company chose not to participate in the legal proceedings, and the ACMA intends to halt its registration. However, this is irrelevant to the operator’s failure to comply with the interactive gambling laws of the country. Justice Thomas underscored that the imposed penalty effectively translates into the cost of conducting business and may not serve as a significant deterrent. This raises questions about the efficacy of penalties in deterring such activities in the future.
In short, Diverse Link Pty Ltd.’s breach of Australia’s gambling laws has led to a hefty fine of AU$5 million. Despite the severity of the penalty, the lack of operator compliance and engagement in legal proceedings casts doubt on the effectiveness of such fines as a deterrent. This case highlights the ongoing challenges in regulating online gambling activities and the need for stronger enforcement measures to ensure compliance with the law.