February 28, 2023 3 min read


Australian Regulator Harshly Criticizes New Self-Exclusion Tool

The Northern Territory Racing Commission has pledged to persist with its current low-tech system unless the federal government's BetStop scheme undergoes significant modifications

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that in an attempt to tackle problem gambling, a new national self-exclusion register, called BetStop, has been developed to help problem gamblers block themselves from the lure of sports betting. However, despite its AUD 40 million ($26.9 million) price tag, there is no guarantee that it will be an effective harm-minimization tool.

NT Regulator Concerned over BetStop Discrepancies

The Northern Territory Racing Commission, which oversees companies handling AUD 50 billion ($33.6 billion) in betting turnover each year and currently runs its own self-exclusion register, fears that gamblers may find holes in the system. The commission’s experience has shown that self-excluded persons who are in the grip of gambling addiction will go to extraordinary lengths to circumvent a system designed to prevent them from opening an account and using it to gamble.

The current system used by the Northern Territory and the companies licensed there is based on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and a collection of PDFs. The documents are shared with betting companies, and the companies are responsible for ensuring new customers have not previously self-excluded using a manual checking process.

Although the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has implemented algorithms to identify similar records when a company seeks to check a new customer with BetStop, the Northern Territory Racing Commission fears it may not be enough and insists on using its old system until changes are made to BetStop.

ACMA Optimistic for Successful Rollout of BetStop across Australia

The BetStop register was initially recommended in 2015 by former New South Wales premier, Barry O’Farrell, as part of his federal review into offshore wagering. In 2021, the Commonwealth government signed an AUD 14 million ($9.4 million) contract to build the system, which was expected to launch in 2022. However, due to a range of setbacks and technical issues, the system only reached the testing phase in recent months.

Despite these setbacks, ACMA expects BetStop to launch “as soon as possible”. According to ACMA, industry trials have been successful and have demonstrated that the solution can handle in excess of a million requests from wagering providers per minute and respond in fractions of a second.

The register will allow people who wish to be excluded from gambling communications to sign up. For example, a person recovering from gambling addiction might register as part of ongoing treatment. Providers, whatever their home state and territory, will be required to check whether customers’ personal details match any records on BetStop and bar the person from signing up and betting if they have been found to have self-excluded.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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