In a renewed effort to reduce problem gambling

Australia: State governments announce online gambling restrictions

Online gambling in Australia is growing faster than any other form. "The gambling problems of the future will all come from the online space if we don’t put sensible protections in place now," said Federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge.

| 11/09/2017

In a bid to mitigate the impact of problem gambling, Australian provincial and federal ministers agreed last week to stop bookies from offering free bets and other inducements to gamble.

The move is intended to prevent bookmaking operators such as Sportsbet, William Hill and Crownbet from giving bonuses to punters who open new ­accounts or refer their friends.

The proposed measures include provision to ensure that winnings from any bonus bets must be able to be withdrawn without any conditions attached, and a requirement that all players must now “opt in” to receive communications detailing promotional deals and offers.

In a statement, Federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said, “Many Australians enjoy a punt, but we want to ensure there are reasonable protections in place and that individuals have greater control over their gambling expenditure.

“Online gambling is growing faster than any other form … the gambling problems of the future will all come from the online space if we don’t put sensible protections in place now.”

During last week's meeting, authorities also agree on strict standards to give punters easy access to account closure information on online betting platforms.

Timelines and rules were also revealed to support a series of other gambling reforms announced earlier this year.

Among them is a centralized national self-exclusion register where gamblers can block themselves from betting with all bookmakers on their phones, computers and tablets, which will go live by the end of 2018. The gambling industry will be slated to fund the register and its wide promotion, and will be required to return positive balances in active accounts of those who self-exclude.

The ministers agreed to implement a voluntary precommitment scheme for online betting by June 2018, allowing gamblers to set binding deposit limits. Operators will be expected to publicize the project and prompt new punters on registration to set limits on their gambling accounts.

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