The self-exclusion system is about to be introduced to the Australian gambling industry now that two new bills have been passed. The House of Representatives and the Senate in Australia’s parliament voted to pass the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill and the National Self-Exclusion Register Bill last week. This means that both will now be passed into legislature and enforced.
The federal executive government of Australia has called this move ‘historic’ and hailed it as the right step to be taking now. There is an important gap in the protection of at-risk persons when it comes to gambling in the country, and these new Bills will ensure that players are now better protected. Once operational, the register will be quick and easy for members of the public to sign up for thanks to a single registration process.
Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill
This is the Bill that governs the organisation and maintenance of the soon-to-be established register. It gives control and oversight of the register to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), as well as the responsibility of ensuring that it is properly managed. The Bill also covers how licenced casino operators are to deal with members of the public who have added themselves to the National Self-Exclusion Register, and how ACMA may deal with these operators if any of them fail to comply with the regulations in the Bill.
Once a member of the public has added themselves to this register, it is essential that they are protected from possible gambling temptations. Operators are not allowed to contact them in any way, nor are they allowed to use their personal information for marketing purposes. Should an operator allow a listed person to sign up for an account with their casino, they will be slapped with a fine. This could be anywhere between 60 and 180 penalty units, where a unit is equal to a minimum of AUD100.
Self-Exclusion Register Bill
The second Bill to be passed – the companion to the first – is the National Self-Exclusion Register (Cost Recovery Levy) Bill 2019. This allows ACMA to determine a levy for each land-based and online casino Licence holder in order to recover the cost of setting up this register. With this Bill in place, the government will be able to ensure the register remains operational without costing the taxpayers any money. However, ACMA will not be able to collect more money than it costs to set up and operate the register, so that the operators are also not losing out.