In recent casino news the Australian government has revealed plans to put forward legislation that would enable people to self-exclude from pokies at all online casinos and sports bookies. The legislation will pave the way for the establishment of an online National Self-Exclusion Register that will aim to reduce gambling-related harm among Australians. It is a key element within a larger National Consumer Protection Framework, has also emerged.
According to official data, Australians lose more than A$24 billion a year on gambling. On a per-capita basis, Australian punters lose more than any other nation in the world, about A$1,200 a year.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government is now looking to take action to tackle Australians’ gambling spending. Commenting on the proposed creation of a National Self-Exclusion Register, Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said in a statement that it would be a voluntary process that would allow for an individual to ban themselves from engaging in online gambling activities across state boundaries for at least three months.
A simple process will even enable Australians to bar themselves from online gambling for an indefinite period of time.
Minister Ruston also pointed out that they believe the measure will “motivate gamblers to have periods where they do not gamble online at all as a way of changing their behavior and minimizing the risk they face of gambling-related harm.”
Online casino restriction
The introduction of a National Self-Exclusion Register is the latest of a series of measures that are part of an ongoing crackdown on online gambling in Australia.
Earlier this month, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ordered local Internet service providers (ISPs) to begin blocking access to unauthorized online gambling websites. Last week, ACMA announced that Emu Casino and Fair Go Casino would be the first victims of its crackdown. Both sites are not licensed to operate in Australia and the authority said that it had received more than 50 complaints about their conduct before ordering their banishment.
Online casino gaming became illegal in Australia in the summer of 2017. However, what previously existed as a thriving gray market became an even more thriving black market after the introduction of the ban. It is believed that Australians annually spend around A$400 million on illegal websites. That amount could have translated to A$100 million in tax revenue to the government.
It will be ACMA’s responsibility again to oversee how the National Consumer Protection Framework is implemented. The self-exclusion register will prohibit online gambling companies from directly advertising and promoting their products and services to self-excluded customers.
If a person opts to self-exclude from gambling, they will receive back all funds held in their active accounts after bets are settled and their accounts will then be closed.
such the self-exclusion measure “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.