Rhys Jones, Brenton Buttigieg to face court for alleged provision of real-money online poker to Australians

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says it has commenced civil penalty proceedings against local poker identities Rhys Jones and Brenton Buttigieg in the Federal Court for alleged contravention of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

The regulator is alleging that Jones provided prohibited online gambling services to Australians from March 2020 to March 2021, and that Buttigieg was involved in promoting and referring customers to those services. It has also named a company called Diverse Link Pty Ltd as having provided the online gambling services in question.

According to ACMA, the action follows a detailed investigation into the prohibited online gambling services, which originally operated under the name “PPPfish” before rebranding to “Shuffle Gaming” and then “Redraw Poker”.

Brenton Buttigieg

ACMA is alleging that these were online poker services prohibited under section 5 of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 by offering Australians the ability to play poker online for money. Players joined via a mobile app, then purchased chips from separate websites, bank transfer or bitcoin, which were then credited to their account.

The maximum penalties payable by individuals is up to $1.665 million per contravention, and five times that amount for companies, ACMA said.

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