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Australian Government’s Commitment to Help Problem Gamblers
The Commonwealth Government understands that most Australians gamble responsibly; however gambling is a major social problem for some people.
Digital technologies are rapidly changing Australia’s gambling industry.
Online gambling is the fastest growing gambling segment, growing at 15% per annum, with over $1.4 billion gambled online each year. Digital technology is also enabling illegal operators to reach our phones, our televisions, our home computers at any time of the day or night.
Australians are losing between $64 million and $400 million every year betting in illegal offshore sites, and this means tax revenue is also lost. In the online world, the proportion of problem gambling is three times higher than in other forms of gambling.
Governments want to protect Australians from these illegal offshore wagering operators which don’t provide the legal and consumer protections Australian licensed sites do.
As a first step, the Government is delivering on its commitments outlined in the Response to the Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering. Stronger consumer protection is the centrepiece of these reforms.
Government’s Response to Illegal Offshore Wagering
The Commonwealth Government is working with state and territory governments, the industry and other key stakeholders to implement 18 of the review’s 19 recommendations. The Government noted one of the Review’s recommendations.
Key actions are:
- Establish a strong national consumer protection framework (details below).
- Crack down on illegal offshore gambling providers by:
- Amending the law to make it clear that it is illegal for overseas gambling companies to offer gambling products to Australian’s; and empowering the Australian Communications Media authority (ACMA) with civil penalties to enforce the law.
- Introducing other disruption measures to curb illegal offshore gambling activity, such as placing company directors of illegal offshore companies on the movement alert list.
- Clarify the law by prohibiting ‘click-to-call’ in-play wagering services to respect the original intent of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
- Not expand the online betting market in Australia by legalising in-play betting.
Ministers agree to tackle major online gambling reform
On 28 April 2017, the Government reached in-principle agreement with state and territory ministers to introduce broad reforms to provide stronger consumer protections in online gambling.
Ministers agreed to 11 measures under a National Consumer Protection Framework to provide Australians with stronger safeguards when they gamble online.
The measures include:
- a national self-exclusion register for online wagering which would allow a person to exclude from all gambling sites or apps in one step;
- a prohibition of lines of credit being offered by wagering providers; and
- a voluntary, opt-out pre-commitment scheme for online wagering with binding limits.
Several measures are expected to be implemented by the end of this year. Ministers also agreed to the establishment of a national gambling research model commencing 1 July this year with a $3 million investment by all governments. The Commonwealth will contribute $1.35 million.
Commonwealth, state and territory ministers meet for the first time to discuss a National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering
Commonwealth and state and territory ministers with responsibility for gambling met in Melbourne on 25 November 2016 to progress the Australian Government’s Response to the Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering.
Ministers agreed that more can be done to ensure safer online wagering for Australians and agreed to continue working together towards the establishment of a National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering.
Strengthening legislation to protect consumers
On 10 November 2016, the Commonwealth Government introduced the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, which amends the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA), to implement key parts of the Government’s response to the 2015 O’Farrell Review into Illegal Offshore Wagering.
This legislation will:
- amend the IGA to make it clear that offshore providers cannot provide gambling services to Australians unless they are licenced in Australia
- introduce a civil penalty regime and enforcement tools such as formal warnings, infringement notices, civil penalties and injunctions
- introduce disruptive measures to curb illegal offshore gambling, including placing company directors of illegal offshore companies on the movement alert lists
- clarify the IGA to prohibit ‘click to call’ in-play betting services
The Government considers 'click-to-call' in-play betting services are breaching the provisions and intent of the Interactive Gambling Act.
- Government response to the Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering
- Resources and support services
- The facts about gambling
- Recovery Stories
You can get immediate assistance by calling the National Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 for free, professional and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For advice and help, visit Gambling Help Online.