First National Framework to help reduce harm from online wagering

All Australian governments are now formally committed to the country’s first National Consumer Protection Framework to ensure greater protection for people participating in online wagering.

Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, said the National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering provides 10 strong, nationally consistent minimum protections for consumers of Australian interactive wagering services.

“The National Framework has been developed in response to the recommendations made in the 2015 O’Farrell Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The Commonwealth and all state and territory governments will implement the suite of measures within the National Framework over the next 18 months.

“The agreement to these measures by all governments means consumers will be protected, no matter where they live in Australia.”

Mr Fletcher said Australians’ high affinity for technology and a long-standing cultural acceptance of gambling has seen the rate of online problem gambling activities rise to three times higher than other types of gambling.

“The measures are designed to reduce the harm that can be caused to individuals and their families by excessive or at-risk online wagering,” he said.

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

“Most importantly, it will also apply to more than 240,000 Australians already experiencing significant harm from online wagering.”

Governments have worked extensively with industry, community sector organisations, academia and individuals who have experienced gambling harm to design the measures.

Responsible Wagering Australia Executive Director, Stephen Conroy, said: “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.”

Under the National Framework, industry will be required to better inform gamblers of their wagering activity, and people will be given easy-to-use tools that give them the ability to better control their gambling.

The Commonwealth will be responsible for implementing measures such as a new online National Self-Exclusion Register allowing people to self-exclude from all online wagering sites and apps in one go.

“If you exclude from one, you exclude from all—this is a first in Australia,” Mr Fletcher said.

The National Framework builds on other legislative reforms the Australian Government has already successfully implemented, including stopping illegal offshore providers, restrictions on advertising, and preventing lines of credit for wagering and links between payday lenders and online wagering operators.

Governments will closely monitor the impact of the National Framework, and update it over time to ensure it is effective for consumers and keeps pace with changes in the online gambling environment.

People needing help or support are encouraged to contact the National Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au