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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.

On 28 April 2016, the Government announced its response to the recommendations of the Review. This commitment included a three-staged approach:

  • The establishment of a National Consumer Protection Framework (National Framework) for online wagering. The aim is to empower individual gamblers to ensure that problem gambling is minimised. This is at the core of the Government’s response.
  • Amending the law to make it clear that it is illegal for unlicensed overseas gambling companies to offer gambling products to Australians. The Australian Communications and Media Authority will be empowered to have stronger enforcement mechanisms.
  • Investigating the feasibility of other disruptions measures to curb illegal offshore gambling activity, including voluntary Internet Service Provider (ISP) blocking and financial payment blocking.

The Commonwealth Government has successfully implemented the first stage of the Government’s commitment through Royal Assent of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2017 (the IGAA). The IGAA came into effect on 13 September 2017. 

The Commonwealth Government is working with state and territory governments to agree a joint Commonwealth, state and territory National Framework by mid 2018.

The feasibility of other disruption measures is also being currently assessed and a position is expected within the same timeframe.

Latest News

Commonwealth, state and territory ministers agree to stronger online gambling protections

At their third meeting on 8 September 2017, Commonwealth and state and territory ministers with responsibility for gambling reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring greater protection for Australians gambling online and to the final stages of the establishment of a strong, consistent and best-practice national consumer protection framework.

Media release and Communiqué from meeting

Restrictions on gambling advertising

On 6 May 2017, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications and the Arts, announced the Broadcast and Content Reform Package. The package includes further restrictions on gambling advertising in live sporting events across all platforms to reduce the exposure of children to gambling.

Information sheet - Gambling advertising (link is external)

Media Release - Major reforms to support Australian broadcasters (link is external)

The Government is currently working with industry to implement these restrictions through amendments to the broadcasting industry codes of practice. The additional restrictions are expected to be in force across all viewing platforms by 30 March 2018.

Betting restrictions and online wagering in Australia - A review of current knowledge

The Betting restrictions and online wagering in Australia – A review of current knowledge is a report prepared by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC), Australian Institute of Family Studies, and commissioned by the Department of Social Services.

In September 2015, the Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering recommended that further research be undertaken on the impact of betting restrictions imposed by Australian licenced bookmakers on illegal offshore wagering and the identification of options to improve the situation.

In responding to Recommendation 15 of the Review, the Commonwealth Government commissioned the AGRC to investigate the current extent of betting restrictions and the impact of these restrictions in driving consumers to illegal offshore wagering operators.

The AGRC’s report, Betting restrictions and online wagering in Australia – A Review of current knowledge, provides a range of options for consideration, noting its interaction with other reform areas and the need for further research. The Commonwealth and state and territory governments are currently considering the findings of this report.

Gambling Measures Act 2012

The Gambling Measures Act 2012 took effect on 31 March 2014 and outlines the Commonwealth’s commitment to consult on the development of venue based voluntary pre-commitment in realistic timeframes.

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