New Era for Online Gaming in Australia, As States Agree to Consumer Protection Mandate

New Era for Online Gaming in Australia, As States Agree to Consumer Protection Mandate

The six state governments in Australia have all agreed to the nation’s first consumer protections for interactive sports betting and online gambling services. The legislation called the National Consumer Protection Framework is set to give the government greater authority to safeguard the public and establishes national standards for online gaming services. The governments of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia all agreed to the legislation.

Gambling in Australia

Gambling in AustraliaIn the years leading up to 2018, Australians were some of the biggest losers in gambling in the world. The country lost an average of $1000 per person each year in gambling. This is more than twice the average of the next country on the scale, Singapore, who had around $500 per person in losses. Australians have been gambling nearly as long as the country has been in existence. Horseracing and poker have been popular pastimes.

Recently however, there have been many concerns raised by social service agencies and advocacy groups. These groups are worried about the sheer number of problem gamblers that are in the country. They are also worried about the number of children who are exposed to gambling. Many video poker machines exist in places outside of bars where children often go. Restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, and shopping malls have video poker machines.

Online Gambling

Many government officials feel while there is a reason to worry about video poker machines, there may be more reasons to worry about online gambling. Recent research has indicated that the numbers of people who may have a problem with online gambling are three times higher than the rate for other types of gambling in the past, online gambling was regulated state by state, which means that some areas had many regulations, while others had none. The Australian government wanted to pull all of the policies together in order to ensure a uniform policy with regard to online gambling.

The New Policy

The new police have 10 measures that will be implemented slowly over the next year and a half beginning in 2019. The National Framework’s 10 measures will do the following:

  •    Gamblers are not allowed to have lines of credit for online gambling or sportsbooks.
  •    Consumers who are placing bets cannot go and get payday loans in order to gamble.
  •    Each state will help to develop a framework of ID verification of gamblers.
  •    There will be restrictions for online gambling incentives, such as vouchers, free spins and other bonuses.
  •    A national voluntary opt-out scheme, much like those that are available at casinos, will be created and enforced.
  •    A group of standards will be developed to ensure that online gambling marketing adheres to requirements for advertising.
  •    New training of online gambling staff will be created and monitored.
  •    Data gathering by companies of player activities while gambling online will be regulated.
  •    Account closing of online gambling accounts will be supervised.
  •    The national government will create and maintain a national self-exclusion register.

The Australian government believes there are currently 2.5 million active accounts in gambling and sportsbook services online. Of those 2.5 million active accounts, the government estimates that nearly 250,000 Australians who are gambling online have a problem. The government is hoping that with more regulation, gambling can return to being a fun form of entertainment, rather than a trap for problem gamblers.

These measures are taking effect in the new atmosphere of gambling in the nation. Regulations have already been passed nationally that ban advertising of sports gambling nationally during sporting events . In addition, Australia has raised taxes on gambling enterprises to allow for additional social services for problem gamblers.

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