The Australian federal government will move to legislate an online national self-exclusion register to allow people to ban themselves from all online betting sites and apps in one go.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the register is a key measure within the first National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering in Australia, which aims to reduce gambling-related harm.
“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,” said Minister Ruston. “The National Self-Exclusion Register is a voluntary process where an individual can ban themselves from using all interactive wagering services across state boundaries for a period ranging from three months or permanently through one simple process.
“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.”
Under the proposed register, interactive wagering service providers would be prohibited from directly advertising and promoting to a person registered for self-exclusion.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher said that following the passage of legislation, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) would be responsible for the implementation of the register.
“This legislation is an important step to help Australian gamblers minimise their risks,” said Minister Fletcher. “Once the register is operational ACMA will regulate licensed interactive wagering providers so they comply with the legislation and make sure people receive the support they need.”
The government has also released a baseline study into online betting which sets a benchmark to determine the effectiveness of the National Consumer Protection Framework over time.
Undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the independent study found 52 per cent of participants were classified as being at risk of or already experiencing gambling-related harm.
“As recommended in the study, we will continue to work with all governments to better communicate the National Framework and work with stakeholders to implement the remaining measures including the National Self-Exclusion Register,” said Minister Ruston.
The National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering baseline study is available here.