Australia to introduce self-exclusion legislation

In a bid to support the implementation of its National Consumer Protection Framework, the Australian government has confirmed that it will be introducing legislation to create a national self-exclusion register for citizens.

Under the legislation, operators would be prevented from advertising and promoting betting offers and services to those registered for self-exclusion, with the register due to be implemented by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

“As much as possible Government policy should preserve Australians’ ability to enjoy a punt while putting in place sensible and targeted measures to prevent and support gamblers facing significant risks of harm,” said Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston.

“It is a measure that we believe will motivate gamblers to have periods where they do not gamble online at all as a way of changing their behaviour and minimising the risk they face of gambling-related harm.”

Once a punter has registered for self-exclusion, all funds in their account will be returned after any remaining bets are settled and their accounts will be closed.

The costs of setting up the register will be paid by funds collected from gambling operators to “ensure they contribute their fair share and encourage them to provide safe environments for their customers,” the Department of Social Services said.

“This legislation is an important step to help Australian gamblers minimise their risks,” added Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher. “Once the Register is operational ACMA will regulate licensed interactive wagering providers so they comply with the legislation and make sure people receive the support they need.”

In December 2018, Australia’s six state governments committed to implement the National Consumer Protection Framework which ensures greater public safeguards and standards on interactive wagering and gambling services.

The framework outlines 10 key areas which have been implemented throughout 2019 and progressively over the next few months. These include:

  1. Prohibiting all lines of credit for online wagering/gambling
  2. Barring payday lending functions for betting consumers
  3. Developing unified ID-verification standards and processes
  4. Applying restrictions on inducements – vouchers, refer-a-friend schemes and bonuses
  5. Enforcing a ‘voluntary opt-out’ player commitment scheme
  6. Establishing standards and requirements for consistent messaging on online gambling marketing
  7. Monitoring online gambling operator staff training
  8. Putting forward requirements on data gathering of player transactions and activities
  9. Supervising correct operator ‘Account Closure’ procedures
  10. Establishing and operating Australia’s ‘National Self Exclusion Register’

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