Australia’s online gambling self-exclusion scheme is facing delay as Queensland has yet to agree on a proposed wagering overhaul.
Queensland is the only Australian state which has not yet given the nod to a number of new measures that would tackle problem gambling in the country. All the other jurisdictions and governments have already agreed to implement new standards focused on strengthening consumer protections in the online gambling industry, as well as addressing the widespread issue of gambling addiction.
The new standards include a scheme that would allow problem gamblers to ban themselves from entering into betting sites and apps.
As part of a series of reforms, individuals can voluntarily set their own limits through a pre-commitment system. Bookies will also be prohibited from offering free bonuses that would entice people to sign up with them.
Australian governments are currently looking into the reforms, collectively known as the National Consumer Protection Network, and are in the final stages of agreement. Federal Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher said that the added the online self-exclusion register will play a critical role in dealing with problem gambling nationwide.
Queensland to Finalize Proposals Before 2018
The federal government has been actively pushing for the reform package and has been urging Queensland’s attorney general Yvette D’Ath to act on the proposals as soon as possible. Ms D’Ath has kept mum on Queensland’s reasons for delaying the reforms. She however said that Queensland is still deliberating over the proposals and would likely finalize everything by the end of the year.
Creating a new strategic policy framework to address problem gambling was one of the commitments laid out by the Palaszczuk government in the lead-up to the 2017 election. A spokeswoman for Ms D’Ath said that framework is still in the works and is carefully being studied to make sure it coincides with the National Consumer Protection Framework. The policy framework and the NCPF will both be finalized before 2018.
Self-Exclusion Scheme Desperately Needed
It’s been three years since proposals for a national self-exclusion scheme were submitted. The scheme has not been introduced up to this day. Lobbyists and campaigners are urging the government to prioritize the scheme, with the policy director for Financial Counselling Australia Lauren Levin saying it should be introduced as a matter of urgency.
Key players in Australia’s gambling industry which include integrated gambling firm Tabcorp, as well as online corporate bookmakers BetEasy, Sportsbet, Bet365, Unibet and Ladbrokes are backing the reforms.