27 Apr

An Online Punt to come with Voluntary Self-Exclusion by September

New Laws for Online PuntingIn Australia, those who enjoy an online punt – perhaps a bit too much – will soon have access to a voluntary national self-exclusion registry for online punting.

Ministers of Australia’s federal, state and territories gathered this morning to discuss a series of online gambling reform measures, known as the National Consumer Protection Framework. By afternoon, they had agreed on 11 of the new measures, all aimed at cracking down on the prevalence of problem gambling over the internet.

One of them, which had been previously suggested and heavily supported by a number of anti-gambling proponents, was the need for a national self-exclusion registry that extends to online punting. Existing legislation had been aimed at the creation of such a registry for land-based gaming only.

According to The Australian, those who partake in an online punt will have access to the self-exclusion registry by September of this year. The voluntary per-committment program will give problem gamblers the opportunity to ban themselves from online punting for a period of between 3 months and an entire lifetime.

National Consumer Protection Framework

A host of other reform measures were approved today, as well. The committee agreed to an expected prohibition against using credit for online punting. Once enacted, internet gambling companies will no longer be permitted to provide punters with a line of credit for wagering. To that end, associations between iGaming operators and payday lenders will be severed.

Operators will also be responsible for making online wagering activity statements available to customers upon request. These statements will have to be updated regularly, and accessible on demand.

While reports indicate the national self-exclusion registry should be up and running by September, other reforms could take longer. The Australian reported that the credit line ban, links between operators and lenders, and activity statements are expected to go into effect, “by the end of 2017, largely through state licencing changes or through Commonwealth legislation”.

Studying the Problems of an Online Punt

Officials have argued that those who enjoy an online punt are three times more likely to suffer from problem gambling than those who do their wagering in a traditional manner. With all the new reforms set for implementation, the government has elected establish a national gambling research model to study the current state of problem gambling, and the effects of the new reforms once enacted.

The research model will begin on July 1, and has been estimated to cost state and federal governments $3 million. The Turnbull government has already committed to providing $1.35 million.

Milestone for Australia Online Gambling

Today’s meeting was chaired by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, who called the results a milestone for the nation’s online gambling industry. Tudge has been adamant in the need for better player protections, and he believes the National Consumer Protection Framework will set the foundation for the movement towards a safer online punting environment.

“Many Australians enjoy a punt and the agreement today paves the way for stronger protections for them,” said Tudge.

“The rate of problem gambling online is three times higher than elsewhere, and online wagering is growing by 15 per cent per annum,” he explained. “In the future, more problems will come from online punting unless we have better protections in place.”