February 28, 2023 3 min read


New Self-Exclusion Program’s Efficacy in Australia Questioned

As North America prepares to celebrate Problem Gambling Awareness Month, Australia is dubious about its own responsible gambling efforts

The source of the most recent self-doubt comes from the BetStop self-exclusion register which promises residents in the Down Under to actually stay away from their troubled gambling patterns. There is solid backing for the program, too, with some $40 million going down to develop it already.

BetStop Does Not Enjoy Everyone’s Trust

And as launch day approaches, many argue that the program is not as effective and is somewhat blown out of proportion in terms of costs. In fact, some members of the government believe that the existing data, consisting of Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and PDF documents, would have more than sufficed in helping gamblers stay safe.

But BetStop is coming either way, borne out of the efforts of then-New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell who was a firm opponent of offshore gambling websites in Australia which continue to target residents to this very day. However, not all is seeing BetStop as misused money.

The Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) has insisted that BetStop is needed and must launch as soon as technically possible. An earlier supposed rollout was plagued by technical misfires.

Then again, ACMA is now confident in the technical capabilities of the software, arguing that it can handle millions of requests per minute, making it a robust solution to leverage across Australia’s growing gambling industry.  

BetStop is not in itself a revolutionary idea, but it’s a necessary addition to the gambling ecosystem, argue supporters. Basically, it will work in the same way much of Europe’s self-exclusion program work. All licensed operators in Australia would have to verify with BetStop whether a person had been excluded because of excessive gambling habits before they allow them to register or/and access gambling products.

Once again, scepticism is to be heard from places such as the Northern Territory Racing Commission which believes that there is some room for fooling the system.

Low Tech Alternatives May Be Used for a While

For example, Alastair Shields of NT Racing Commission has said that the system is prone to vulnerabilities such as altering a person’s name, date of birth, address, mobile phone number or other operator details that could create a loophole. He told ABC News:

It is the commission’s experience 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.

Alastair Shields of NT Racing Commission

Shields has a point as other self-exclusion systems around the world have failed. GamStop was found out to have the same failings several years ago. This is not all bad news, because a solution can be implemented to prevent such instances of abuse, too.

The Northern Territory similarly believes that BetStop is a costly venture with dubious efficiency. Rather, companies registered in the state stick to the aforementioned Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and PDFs to verify whether a person is actually a gambling addict.

Therefore, BetStop may not launch immediately in the Northern Territory as the state would maintain what it calls its low-tech alternative until such a time that the new self-exclusion program is established as a security guarantor of vulnerable gamblers’ safety.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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