Australia to implement federal consumer protection framework

Australia to implement federal consumer protection framework

Monday, December 3, 2018 Posted by News Team
Australia
New social responsibility measures to be rolled out across all states in 2019

Australia’s six state governments have committed to rolling out a National Consumer Protection Framework for wagering, with a number of new controls to be introduced for operators over the coming year. 

Elements of the ten-point action plan, developed following a 2015 review into the country’s gambling sector, are to be rolled out at three-month intervals following the framework coming into force. The implementation comes after something of an about-turn by the Queensland government, which originally aimed to develop its own player protection controls. 

“The measures are designed to reduce the harm that can be caused to individuals and their families by excessive or at-risk online wagering,” Australian federal Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said. 

“The National Framework will apply to about 2.5 million active online wagering accounts, or about a million people in Australia.”

Two of the measures included in the plan have already been introduced, with bookmakers banned from offering lines of credit and from having commercial relationships with payday lenders both banned since February 2018. 

This will be followed by the window in which customers must verify their identity to continue gambling online to be cut from 90 days to 21. This will take place within three months of the framework’s introduction. 

After six months bookies will then be required to ensure they offer customers inducements to gamble in a socially responsible manner. At this point, operators must ensure that customers can follow a simple process to close their accounts, as well as ensuring that this also sees the player removed from a company’s marketing database. 

A voluntary pre-commitment scheme, allowing users to set spending limits, must also be brought in at this point. 

After a year, all licensed bookmakers will be required to provide players with detailed activity statements to all customers, as well as carry consistent responsible gaming messaging across all brands. 

The end of the first year will also see the launch of a self-exclusion database, allowing players to block access to all licensed gaming sites through a one-off registration. 

Responsible Wagering Australia executive director Stephen Conroy hailed the introduction of the framework, saying: “These are landmark reforms which solidify Australia’s place as a leader in social responsibility in wagering.

“We are grateful to Minister Fletcher and his predecessors, Ministers Tehan and Tudge, for leading a thorough and consultative process on this important package of measures.”

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