ACMA Continues Banishments, Targets “Skins” Gambling

In today’s world, you can gamble in an unthinkable number of ways. Using video game skins as currency for online casino games? That’s a new one, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

ACMA Continues Banishments, Targets “Skins” Gambling

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) recently announced that it has asked the country’s internet service providers to block three more illegal iGaming sites—Online Casinos Australia, Vave and Highway Casino—which brings the total number of sites blocked to just under 750.

The ACMA first began blocking sites in November of 2019, and has amassed a total of 747 such actions in the years since. Additionally, some 200 offshore operators have left the country since the ACMA enacted stricter offshore regulations in 2017.

In related news, the agency also announced that it has issued a preliminary warning to video game company Feral Holdings Ltd. for offering a unique form of casino-style games through its Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) Roll site.

CS:GO is a first-person shooter computer game that has been popular with gamers around the world for years. Players can customize their weapons with “skins,” or unique finishes and textures that are considered rare or valuable—for example, certain skins could make a gun look solid gold or bloody or covered in graffiti.

On the CS:GO Roll site, players are able to use the skins as a form of currency, to be exchanged for in-game tokens that are then used for casino-style gambling games.

The winnings for the games are paid out in skins, but third-party platforms can convert the digital graphics into real money, which then creates an illegal gambling circuit, according to authorities.

“Providing casino-style games online is prohibited in Australia when playing for money or something of value, whether that’s Australian dollars, cryptocurrency or in this case, online gaming skins,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said in a statement.

“Skins gambling services are particularly concerning as they tap into a youth market and have the potential to convert gamers into gamblers,” O’Loughlin added.