Australian Government To Introduce Self-Exclusion Policies For Online Gamblers

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pushing for the enforcement of a register that will allow wagers to self-exclude themselves from all online gambling sites. The measure is aimed at protecting vulnerable players by diminishing the negative consequences of gambling.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pushing for the enforcement of a register that will allow wagers to self-exclude themselves from all online gambling sites. The measure is aimed at protecting vulnerable players by diminishing the negative consequences of gambling.

The online National Self-Exclusion Register will also hide gambling ads from players and will be introduced in all states.

A gambling self-exclusion scheme is available in the UK and provides people with the opportunity to add themselves to a list and this way restrict themselves from betting online. UK residents are able to self-exclude themselves either from a separate company or from multiple venues at the same time. The scheme does not include all gaming websites yet, but is in on its way to become a fully national online self-exclusion scheme so that anyone registering to be automatically excluded from all companies once this happens.

Statistics show that over 80% of the Australian population engage in some sort of gambling activity, which is the highest gambling rate in the world. The Responsible Gaming Foundation reveals that each year since 2015, Australians’ gambling expenditure amounted to more than $23 billion.

On Sunday, Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said in a statement that: “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.”

Minister Ruston said the register provides an option for individuals to voluntary exclude themselves from accessing all betting websites across state boundaries either permanently or for a period starting from three months. Rutson added that:

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.

It will also be forbidden for online gaming or betting service providers to directly advertise and promote to a person available on the self-exclusion register.

Upon signing up to the self-exclusion tool, all finances in a consumer’s active accounts must go back to that consumer following the settlement of all bets. As a final step, the user’s account must be closed.

The implementation of the register will be carried out and supervised by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Australia has been actively promoting measures to beat online gambling addiction in the recent years, as the country’s gambling industry is undergoing major changes in the era of digital technologies. The online betting segment is the fastest-growing gambling activity, according to 2015 Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering. The establishment of a National Consumer Protection Framework (National Framework) for online wagering is one of the responses to the 2015 Review.

According to the final report of the National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering (National Framework) baseline study, published on 24 November, “the proportion of people who placed a bet on sports, racing or other events via the internet is estimated to have almost doubled between 2012 and 2018 – from 16% to 34%.”

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