Australia launches national self-exclusion register BetStop

By Robert Fletcher

The Australian government has today (21 August) announced the launch of the country’s new national self-exclusion register, BetStop.

Players can self-exclude from gambling for a minimum of three months and for as long as their lifetime. BetStop covers all licensed interactive wagering service providers in Australia, including online and telephone-based operators.

Operators must block self-excluded players from opening account and cannot accept any bets from these customers. Licensees must also ensure they do not send any marketing materials to those on the register.

In addition, operators are required to promote BetStop including on their websites and apps, as well as in marketing material sent to customers.

BetStop completes National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering

The launch of BetStop has been a long time coming, with plans to launch a register announced in June 2022. Today’s launch is in line with a timetable set out by the government last month.

BetStop marks the final measure of the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering. Two other measures – consistent gambling messaging and training for wagering staff – came into effect in March.

“The Albanese government is committed to minimising gambling harms for vulnerable Australians,” the minister for communications, Michelle Rowland MP, said. “That’s why I am pleased the national self-exclusion register has officially launched.

“BetStop will change lives for the better, giving Australians most at-risk of gambling harm the support they need to self-exclude from interactive licensed wagering. It is the last of 10 measures to be implemented under the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering.”

ACMA in charge of BetStop

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is overseeing the regulation of BetStop, while the service is being powered by IXUP Limited. To support the launch, ACMA will roll out a public awareness campaign about the register.

Meanwhile, the government will introduce mandatory customer pre-verification. This will require operators to verify a customer’s identity when they register for an account and before they bet.

It will replace existing requirements to verify a customer’s identity within 72 hours. The change, the government said, strengthens protection for players, including those who are underage or newly registered individuals who have self-excluded through BetStop.

Australia’s wider efforts to combat problem gambling

The new requirement is expected to be in place by the end of September.

Other steps taken by the government include a commitment to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling and to strengthen the classification of gambling-like features in video games such as loot boxes.

In addition, the government has implemented mandatory monthly activity statements. This, it said, allows players to easily see their wins and losses.

“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,” the minister for social services, Amanda Rishworth MP, said.

“These measures will help to minimise the harm we see as a result of online gambling. 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.”

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