The Alliance for Gambling Reform has welcomed the national self-exclusion register, BetStop, as a long-overdue gambling harm reduction initiative.
“For far too long Australia has had an ineffective, patchwork of self-exclusion programs that have been poorly enforced. It has allowed the predatory gambling industry to continue to offer unethical inducements to people who have said they wanted to stop gambling” the Chief Executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Carol Bennett, said.
“We have been waiting years for such a reform to be put in place, this initiative by Minister Rowland is a very significant step and we are keen to work with the government to ensure it works effectively.”
Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, announced the initiative would be launched on 21 August. The scheme will allow Australians to register with BetStop to voluntarily self-exclude from all Australian licensed interactive wagering service providers from a minimum of 3 months to a lifetime.
Wagering service providers (online and telephone-based) will not be allowed to open an account or accept a bet from self-excluded individuals or send them marketing material.
The Alliance has also welcomed the Government’s move to introduce mandatory customer pre-verification, requiring wagering service providers to verify a customer’s identity when they register for a new account and before they can place a bet.
Ms Bennett said she hoped these reforms would be followed by a government decision to accept all the recommendations of the recent parliamentary inquiry into online gambling.
“We need a national strategy to combat the profound gambling harm that is being wrought in communities across Australia. Each year gambling rips $25 billion in losses out of our communities,” she said.
“The parliamentary committee has rightly recognised that this is a significant public health issue and greater government leadership and resourcing must be devoted to introducing stricter regulations as well as funding prevention and public education campaigns and services to help people who are suffering gambling harm.”
Carol Bennett is available for interview
The Alliance for Gambling Reform collaborates with organisations concerned about the harmful effects of gambling in Australia. As a registered health promotion charity, we strive to make Australia a safer, healthier, and more equitable society by reducing gambling harm. We prioritise policies that prevent and minimise gambling harm and base our policies on lived experience and public health evidence. We believe that lived experience is critical to developing informed solutions.
Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704