License: Pexels, Free to use, Author: Catarina Sousa
The Australian government has confirmed that the country's new self-exclusion register, called BetStop, will launch on 21 August. BetStop will enable consumers to voluntarily self-exclude from licensed interactive wagering service providers in Australia.
Operators will be prohibited from opening accounts or accepting bets from individuals who have signed up for the program, and they will also be restricted from sending marketing materials to registered users of BetStop.
Consumers can register for BetStop free of charge and choose to self-exclude for a minimum of three months up to a lifetime. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will oversee the management of the register.
Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland stated, "Protecting Australians from online gambling harms is a key priority for the government. The launch of Australia's first national self-exclusion register is a game changer. It will make it easy for vulnerable consumers to self-exclude from online wagering services."
In addition to the launch of BetStop, the government will introduce mandatory customer pre-verification, requiring operators to verify the identity of customers when they register for a new account and before placing bets. This measure aims to enhance protection for underage or newly registered individuals who have self-excluded through BetStop.
The government will also require operators to promote BetStop on their websites, mobile apps, and marketing materials, and ACMA will run a public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the register.
BetStop is the final measure to be implemented under the National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering, which aims to strengthen consumer protections in the industry. The implementation of BetStop and customer pre-verification were recommended during a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling and its impact on individuals experiencing gambling harm.
The Australian government has been taking various steps to address online gambling-related issues, including the ban on credit cards for online wagering and the classification of gambling-like features in video games. There is also a possibility of introducing a blanket ban on all forms of gambling advertising, following recommendations from the parliamentary inquiry. However, trade body Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) has criticized the potential ban as going "too far."