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Australia takes a stand, puts up nationwide self-exclusion register to tackle online gambling

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Australia is taking a bold step towards combating the pervasive issue of online gambling in the country. In a move towards promoting responsible gaming and potentially implementing nationwide regulations, a groundbreaking self-exclusion register is set to launch.

Introducing BetStop, an innovative solution aimed at addressing the problem of gambling addiction that supersedes existing state-led initiatives. Starting from August 21, the federal government will unveil this comprehensive and free register, allowing individuals struggling with gambling addiction to voluntarily enroll.

Self-exclusion register for online gamblers–how does it work?

Participants will have the power to exclude themselves from all online betting platforms for various durations, ranging from a minimum of three months to an indefinite period. Once registered, the exclusion will apply across all forms of online gaming.

Australia takes a stand, puts up nationwide self-exclusion

This long-awaited initiative will significantly impact Australia’s 150 authorized online betting enterprises. They will be prohibited from accepting registrations or wagers from individuals listed on BetStop, as well as marketing their services to them.

The impending registration suspension is a direct consequence of a recently published parliamentary investigation into online gambling reform. With the investigation proposing a complete ban on online betting, the government is now seriously contemplating its implementation.

The report, which reached the desk of Michelle Rowland, Australia’s Communications Minister two weeks ago, has sparked a sense of urgency to address its recommendations. Rowland has made it clear that the goal is to expedite the process of working through these recommendations.

What could change in Australia’s online casino market

As the government deliberates on potential changes, BetStop will receive widespread promotion through various channels, including operators’ websites, betting applications, and marketing materials. Furthermore, operators will be required to verify customers’ identities at the time of account creation before accepting any bets.

To reinforce other betting reform initiatives, Rowland has announced the elimination of the previous 72-hour window for verifying customer identities. This modification, coupled with the introduction of BetStop, aims to integrate new cautionary messages and bring about changes in advertising practices.

Carol Bennett, CEO of the Alliance for Gaming Reform, expressed her belief that BetStop is long overdue. She asserts that Australia has tolerated a flawed system of self-imposed exclusion programs that were poorly executed, and a centralized system will overcome these shortcomings.

Kai Cantwell, CEO of Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), also responded, expressing the company’s commitment to collaborating with the government to ensure the effective implementation of the registration process. He emphasized the crucial role of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in working closely with providers to conduct load testing and ensure there are no loopholes.

Trade-offs with the new policy to set off

As with any gambling market, Australia’s industry has sparked polarizing debates. Some argue that Australians are “losing” billions of dollars each year, urging the government to intervene. 

Currently, the anti-gambling sentiment seems to be prevailing, leading to increasingly stringent regulations. However, it is essential to strike a balance, as excessive restrictions could have unintended consequences.

As the RWA warned in May, the outcome could be far worse. Excessive restrictions may drive more individuals to offshore gambling sites, despite the ACMA’s efforts to block them.

Australia stands to lose up to AUD 3 billion (US$1.98 billion) over the next five years to the unregulated offshore market, and this figure may even be higher. Striking the right balance is crucial to ensure the success of this nationwide self-exclusion register and mitigate the potential risks of driving consumers towards unregulated platforms.

For more up-to-date news and features on gambling and iGaming industry, please visit our Casino News and Features at Crypto Club Site.

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