Gambling sites included in Aussie 'blacklist'

19 March 2009

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Web site is not on the black list that was leaked to Wikileaks as originally reported. Casino City apologizes for this reporting error.

A "black list" of Web sites that the Australian government would require ISPs to block has been leaked to Wikileaks and it includes a number of online gambling sites.

The list compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was expected to contain sites that published child pornography. But instead, a good portion of the 2,395 sites on the Wikileaks list includes the home pages of private companies, YouTube videos, a tour operator, dating services and medical practitioners. At least 13 poker Web sites are also on the list, including Full Tilt, Poker Stars and Absolute Poker. and are other online gambling properties also on the list.

ACMA currently maintains the secret blacklist of sites and provides it to software companies that make Internet filtering programs for parents. If the Australian government adopts proposed legislation to force all Australians ISPs to block access to these sites, Australians will not have access to some of the most popular online gambling sites.

The authenticity of the list is being denied by Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

"I am aware of reports that a list of URLs has been placed on a web site. This is not the ACMA blacklist," Conroy said in a statement posted on his Web site Thursday. ""There are some common URLs to those on the ACMA blacklist. However, ACMA advises that there are URLs on the published list that have never been the subject of a complaint or ACMA investigation, and have never been included on the ACMA blacklist."

Conroy added that "the leak and publication of prohibited URLs is grossly irresponsible. It undermines efforts to improve cyber–safety and create a safe online environment for children…Under existing laws the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime. No one interested in cyber-safety would condone the leaking of these addresses."

As an apparent result of leaking the list, Wikileaks itself was added to the blacklist on Monday. Any site linking to Wikileaks can now be fined 11,000 Australian dollars ($7,424.40) a day.

Electronic Frontiers Australia said in a statement that the leaking of the blacklist is a "wake-up call for Australians concerned about secret censorship."

"The leaking of the list has confirmed some of our worst fears," said EFA Vice-Chair Colin Jacobs. "This was bound to happen, especially as mandatory filtering would require the list to be distributed to ISPs all around the country. The Government is now in the unenviable business of compiling and distributing a list which includes salacious and illegal material and publicizing those very sites to the world.

"Now that we have seen the list, it is clearly not the perfect weapon against child-abuse it has been made out to be," Jacobs added. "Many of the sites clearly contain only run-of-the-mill adult material, poker tips, or nothing controversial at all. Even if some of these sites may have been defaced at the time they were added to the list, how would the operators get their sites removed if the list is secret and no appeal is possible?"

Gary Trask

Articles by Gary serves as Casino City's Editor in Chief and has more than 25 years of experience as a writer and editor. He also manages new business ventures for Casino City.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

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