Victoria recently introduced a raft of online gambling reforms which will begin to take effect from May 26. The changes were made in order to offer online gambling in the Australian state better protection and security. However, industry experts are not very confident that these changes will have a positive impact on the market.
They say that Victoria needs to impose gambling advertising bans and increase the taxes paid by bookies if it wants to alleviate the negative effects of sports betting.
Sports betting companies normally offer incentive in the form of credit, vouchers or other rewards, to local account-holders to encourage them to refer their family or friends to register for a betting account.
This practice will no longer be allowed as part of the new measures. Complementary betting will also be banned as it forces account holders to utilize their winnings to continue to gamble.
It will now be easier for customers to place limits on the amount of money that can be deposited into their accounts. They can also easily close their betting accounts if they want to. Furthermore, consumers will need to opt-in before they can receive direct marketing from a betting service provider.
The recent online gambling reforms fall in line with the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF) for online wagering, ratified in November 2018 and agreed on by every state and territory gaming minister in Australia. The NCPF contains guidelines and provisions that aim to protect online gamblers from the harms associated with online sports betting. It is supported by Responsible Wagering Australia, the online betting industry’s trade organization.
Australian states and territories were given an 18-month limit to introduce the NCPF reforms and Victoria now becomes the first state to adopt the changes.
New Measures Not Good Enough
While the reforms were welcome, industry experts believe they will do little to address the main problem in hand. Stephen Mayne of the Alliance for Gambling Reform said the new measures are not enough to prevent problem gamblers from gambling further. Online betting companies have already penetrated people’s lives and Mayne doubts the NCPF agreement will be able to put the genie back into the bottle.
The industry will still make huge profits despite the new reforms, and that’s mainly because no restrictions have been put in place in terms of advertising.
Professor Charles Livingstone, a gambling researcher and senior lecturer with Monash University in Melbourne said if problem gambling is to be addressed, the federal government must regulate online gambling directly, making sure there is consistent taxation and enforcement.