Australia’s six state governments have committed to the mandate of the nation’s first ‘National Consumer Protection Framework’ ensuring greater public safeguards and standards on interactive wagering and gambling services.
Referred to as the ‘National Framework’, the governments of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia will collaborate on developing consistent nationwide policies, regulating the online gambling sector.
Despite Australia’s Commonwealth taking a more active role in gambling regulations, to date Australian gambling incumbents have been regulated by State and Territory authorities, creating a number of divergent policies leading to inconsistencies on legislative policies and required standards.
The nation-wide directive has been spearheaded by the Australian Department of Social Services, detailing that all government stakeholders are concerned by ‘the rate of online problem gambling being three times higher than for other types of gaming’.
Seeking to harmonise regulatory codes, practices and standards, the National Framework publishes its founding ’10 measures’ which will be implemented progressively over the next 18-month period.
- Prohibiting all lines of credit for online wagering/gambling
- Barring payday lending functions for betting consumers
- Developing unified ID-verification standards and processes
- Applying restrictions on inducements – vouchers, refer-a-friend schemes and bonuses
- Enforcing a ‘voluntary opt-out’ player commitment scheme
- Establishing standards and requirements for consistent messaging on online gambling marketing
- Monitoring online gambling operator staff training
- Putting forward requirements on data gathering of player transactions and activities
- Supervising correct operator ‘Account Closure’ procedures
- Establishing and operating Australia’s ‘National Self Exclusion Register’
Leading the National Framework development, a social directive first initiated in 2015 following the 2015 ‘O’Farrell Review’, Paul Fletcher Australian Minister for Social Services stated
“The measures are designed to reduce the harm that can be caused to individuals and their families by excessive or at-risk online wagering,” he said.
“The National Framework will apply to about 2.5 million active online wagering accounts, or about a million people in Australia. Most importantly, it will also apply to more than 240,000 Australians already experiencing significant harm from online wagering.”
Meanwhile, independent industry body ‘Responsible Wagering Australia’ branded the National Framework as the nation’s first progressive and modern mandate for online gambling services, calling for wider public stakeholders in academia, health, technology and research to support the frameworks founding vision.
Stephen Conroy Responsible Wagering Australia Executive Director said: “These are landmark reforms which solidify Australia’s place as a leader in social responsibility in wagering.”
“We are grateful to Minister Fletcher and his predecessors, Ministers Tehan and Tudge, for leading a thorough and consultative process on this important package of measures.” Under the National Framework, industry will be required to better inform gamblers of their wagering activity, and people will be given easy-to-use tools that give them the ability to better control their gambling.