AUSTRALIAN STATE AND FEDERAL MINISTERS BACK NEW ONLINE GAMBLING CONTROL MEASURES (Update)
Melbourne meeting endorses initiative based on OFarrell review of the Interactive Gaming Act.
Fridays meeting in Melbourne of Australian state and federal ministers under the chairmanship of federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge concluded in support for the wide-ranging tightened control of online gambling across the nation.
Ministers supported a federal plan for a ban on credit betting and a nationwide self-exclusion system for wagering, along with bans on in-play betting and renewed efforts to block illegal offshore bookmakers.
Other items to be included in the draft framework, which will be put out for consultation to the wagering sector and the public, are moves to harmonize laws on bonuses and inducements that are used by operators to sign up new customers amid cutthroat competition, The Australian newspaper reported.
Tudge said that the agreement reached by the ministers will pave the way for stronger protections for everyday gamblers, and added:
“The rate of problem gambling in the online space is three times higher than elsewhere and online gambling is growing by 15 percent per annum. This means that the problems of the future are all coming from online punting unless we have better protections in place.
“The O’Farrell Review found that our current consumer protections are weak and considerably below best practice. These practical initiatives that we have agreed today are aimed at reducing problem gambling, largely by giving people better information and tools to control their expenditure.
“A national self-exclusion register will be particularly important to help people who know they are starting to get themselves into trouble. With one click, they will be able to self-exclude from all online gambling providers.”
Ministers pledged to investigate methods by which online bookmakers can be compelled to provide activity statements for punters on demand, along with nationally consistent standards on responsible gambling messages. In addition, ministers promised to explore ways to achieve “greater national consistency in advertising of online wagering services”.
A government statement on the meeting explained that the tightened online gambling legislative proposal will "…put in place a higher level of national consumer protections than is currently in place in Australia to improve harm minimisation outcomes for Australian consumers.’’