Australians wishing to self-exclude from online betting will soon be able to register through an online portal, which should see all online gambling accounts they have frozen or closed down for a minimum of three months.
The BetStop National Self-Exclusion Register for online wagering was announced on Monday (10 July) by Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland and Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth, and will be officially launched on 21 August.
It follows the handing down in late June of a report on the impact of online betting compiled by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs. That report made 31 recommendations, including a ban on all online gambling advertising.
Registration with BetStop will be free and done in a single transaction, and will remove the previous 72-hour requirement to verify a customer’s identity. The government says BetStop will cover 150 Australian licensed interactive wagering service providers and will offer enhanced protection for underage or newly registered individuals who have self-excluded.
A public awareness campaign by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to promote BetStop will soon commence, and wagering service providers will be required to promote BetStop on their websites, apps and in their marketing material.
“Protecting Australians from online gambling harms is a key priority for the Albanese Government,” Minister Rowland said in a 10 July release. “The launch of Australia’s first National Self-Exclusion Register, BetStop, is a game changer, and will make it easy for vulnerable consumers to self-exclude from online wagering services.”
The register will prevent self-excluders from opening a betting account or placing an online bet, and will also prevent marketing material from being sent from service providers. In conjunction with BetStop, the government will introduce customer pre-verification, requiring service providers to verify a customer’s identity when they register for a new account.
The government says the introduction of BetStop is the “final measure” of the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering, and follows the introduction of consistent gambling messaging and training for wagering staff, which commenced in March.
“BetStop is the last of 10 measures to be implemented under the National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering, to empower Australians through stronger consumer protections,” Minister Rowland said.
Minister Rishworth added: “With the introduction of BetStop, all measures under the National Consumer Protection Framework will be realised, with significant action delivered by our government in just over a year.
“These measures will help to minimise the harm we see as a result of online gambling,” she added. “For many people, it will change their lives. We know minimising the harm caused by online gambling is not a set-and-forget exercise and I look forward to working with my state and territory counterparts on what comes next to continue this positive change.”
Participants will be able to nominate up to five people to support them through their self-exclusion, and the personal details of all participants and support people will be protected.
ACMA has established a website with frequently asked questions and other information, and from 21 August, people wishing to register for self-exclusion can do so here.
While pre-registration for self-exclusion is not available, people can register online to be notified once the service is available.