Betfair Banned By Australian Censorship Authority

Betfair CEO Andrew Twaits is outraged the multi billion company has been blacklisted under the Australian government Internet content filters. Betfair appears on a blacklist of 2,395 websites which are deemed to be dangerous and will face mandatory “ISP blocking”.

The blacklist of web sites banned by the Australian Government’s Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been leaked to pubic disclosure site Wikileaks. The list details all sites “refused classification” in Australia that would be illegal to view in Australia and even linked to.

As one website found out last week, any website found to link to any site on the blacklist, including the website the blacklist is actually on, risks fines of $11,000 per day from the ACMA.

The list, which does include child pornography sites, is remarkable for the additional material it also bans. Included on the list are Poker sites, including sites where poker is played and even the dominant Poker News site in the world, Pokernews.

Other banned sites include religious sites, YouTube videos, normal porn sites, tourism operators and even the site of a Queensland dentist.

The banned websites list has been compiled as a key element of the government’s mandatory ISP-filtering scheme, which would see all ISP’s blocking attempts to access pages on the list if current trials are deemed successful.

But the inclusion of Betfair on the blackist has dumbfounded many in the industry. Betfair has been licensed to operate in Australia for over three years and is used so heavily by Australians now that its matched pools on Thoroughbred and Greyhound Racing, often exceed the whole combined totals of all the three normal “tote” operators.

In fact it has been reported that Betfair CEO Andrew Twaits was even unaware the TAB rival had been blacklisted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and said the watchdog had not contacted the company.

Disturbingly for Australians, as Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) Vice-Chair Colin Jacobs points out, “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?”