Australian bookmakers show ‘no harmony’ in developing a new responsibility framework

Industry rifts appear to be hampering the progress of Australia developing a national self-exclusion policy for betting consumers.

This weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported that Ladbrokes Australia had split with industry standards association Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) on the co-development of a new national responsibility framework.

Working with online bookmakers, RWA seeks to develop stronger reforms which will include a nation-wide self-exclusion scheme, supported with voluntary opt-out functions, betting limits on customer sign-up and a further ban on ‘betting inducements’ (bonuses, refer-a-friend).

Ladbrokes Australia is reported to be frustrated by the co-development of RWA’s responsibility framework and whether it can service a consistent self-exclusion scheme.

The RWA is developing its responsibility mandate, with leading online bookmakers; Sportsbet (Paddy Power Betfair), BetEasy (Stars Group Inc), and bet365.

However, industry news sources report that Sportsbet and BetEasy, Australia’s biggest online bookmakers have by-passed the RWA, working directly with the Australian government to develop a self-exclusion scheme.

Speaking to SMH, Ladbrokes Australia General Counsel Patrick Brown criticised Sportsbet and BetEasy actions;

“The design and implementation of most multi-operator self-exclusion schemes fail due to complexity. Ladbrokes calls on Sportsbet and BetEasy (CrownBet) to work within Responsible Wagering Australia on multi-operator self-exclusion.”

Ladbrokes governance insists that it supports an Australia comprehensive self-exclusion scheme, but that stakeholders should replicate and roll-out the model enforced by the Northern Territory, where most online bookmakers’ are licensed.

Openly criticising the two biggest RWA members, speculation has grown as to whether Ladbrokes Australia will remain a member of the industry standards association.

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