Although freely accessible, offshore-registered online casinos do not provide safety for problem gamblers.
An Australian gambling addict who self-excluded from pubs, clubs, and casinos in his country is attempting to make up his losses at two offshore casinos.
‘Gambling Responsibly is a Joke’
According to ABC News, Blake Barnard, 42, who lost about AU$300,000 ($201,000) playing at Curacao-licensed internet casinos, is thinking about suing the casino operators. He claims they should have been able to stop his losses rather than taking advantage of his problem gambling.
Barnard criticized online gambling companies for their lack of responsible gambling policies and processes and expressed his belief that the sector is not taking responsible gambling seriously. “It’s horrible the way they operate,” he said.
In the world of internet gambling, responsible gambling is a joke. It is non-existent,” declared Barnard after losing over AU$150,000 ($100,500) of his own money and another AU$150,000 ($100,500) that belonged to his mother, a retired woman with multiple sclerosis.
Regarding the availability of online casinos, Barnard claimed that accessing them from mobile devices did not help either. Even when his bank barred him from making deposits to the casinos, Luckystar, one of the two casino operators, suggested in an email that he use cryptocurrencies as a workaround.
While Barnard is correct that it is legal to gamble at offshore casinos, it may be difficult for him to recoup his losses at online casinos registered in Curacao that are operated by unidentified parties. This is because the tiny Caribbean island, which is a part of the Netherlands, is regarded as a haven for gambling operators because there is no regulation, no law enforcement, and no taxation at all.
ISP Blocks Are Ineffective
While Luckystar is one of the 652 websites filed for blocking to internet service providers (ISP) by Barnard, who also reported the online casino websites to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), operators have found a workaround by using mirror sites.
Despite the fact that the online casino, along with many others registered there, does not have a know-your-customer (KYC) policy, Luckystar required Barnard to produce an ID upon registration. Websites clearly state that users can maintain their identity when making cryptocurrency deposits.
Such actions are made possible by the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, which also makes online casinos prey to organized crime looking to launder their illicit gains. Financial integrity authorities face challenges due to their inability to trace the money’s source and its final destination.