Australian Politicians Agree On New Restrictions For Online Gambling

Federal, state and territory ministers have agreed on 11 new measures

Federal, state and territory ministers across Australia reached agreement Thursday on new measures designed to further restrict online gambling in the country.

The meeting, chaired by federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, agreed on the following restrictions:

* Gambling operators will be forbidden from offering sign-up inducements to open new online gambling accounts;

* Operators may no longer require punters to play through any winnings before being allowed to withdraw;

* Lines of credit may no longer be offered by operators in advertisements via apps and websites;

* A nation-wide opt-out pre-commitment scheme is to be established, along with a national self-exclusion register for online betting that will allow problem gamblers to self-exclude for periods of not less than three months or for the rest of their lives. Those who are self-excluding will have an as yet unspecified compulsory ‘cooling off’ period to allow them to reconsider their decision.

* The new National Consumer Protection Framework will be legislated as quickly as possible, largely through Commonwealth legislation, achieving consistency across Aussie jurisdictions. This means that state and territory governments must in future ensure that their laws are compliant with Commonwealth gambling laws;

* The federal government is to add A$1.5 million to the A$3 million invested by states and territories to establish a national gambling research model which will begin work on July 1 this year.

Minister Tudge said in a statement that the National Consumer Protection Framework represented a milestone in controlling online gambling, and was principally the government’s response to the O’Farrell review of illegal offshore wagering.

The minister made some questionable and unsubstantiated remarks on online gambling’s potential to create problem punters in his statement, claiming:

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

And he perhaps gave an indication of further government banning actions when he said the federal government will consult with industry on the feasibility of internet service providers and payments being blocked to combat illegal offshore wagering operators.