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National Self-Exclusion Register to help reduce harm from online wagering

Joint media release

Senator the Hon Anne Ruston
Minister for Families and Social Services

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts

The Morrison Government will move to legislate an online National Self-Exclusion Register that will allow people to ban themselves from all online wagering sites and apps in one go.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the Register is a key measure within the first National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering in Australia which aims to reduce gambling-related harm.

“As much as possible Government policy should preserve Australians ' ability to enjoy a punt while putting in place sensible and targeted measures to prevent and support gamblers facing significant risks of harm,” Minister Ruston said.

“The National Self-Exclusion Register is a voluntary process where an individual can ban themselves from using all interactive wagering services across state boundaries for a period ranging from three months or permanently through one simple process.

“It is a measure that we believe will motivate gamblers to have periods where they do not gamble online at all as a way of changing their behaviour and minimising the risk they face of gambling-related harm.”

Under the proposed Register, interactive wagering service providers would be prohibited from directly advertising and promoting to a person registered for self-exclusion.

Upon registration for self-exclusion, all funds held in a consumer 's active accounts must be returned to that consumer once all wagers/bets are settled and the account must then be closed.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher said that following the passage of legislation, the Australian Communications and Media Authority would be responsible for the implementation of the Register.

“This legislation is an important step to help Australian gamblers minimise their risks. Once the Register is operational ACMA will regulate licensed interactive wagering providers so they comply with the legislation and make sure people receive the support they need,” Minister Fletcher said.

All costs to set up and administer the Register will be recovered from interactive wagering providers to ensure they contribute their fair share and encourage them to provide safe environments for their customers.

The Government has also released a baseline study into online wagering which sets a benchmark to determine the effectiveness of the National Consumer Protection Framework over time.

Undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the independent baseline study found 52 per cent of participants were classified as being at risk of or already experiencing gambling-related harm.

“As recommended in the study, we will continue to work with all governments to better communicate the National Framework and work with stakeholders to implement the remaining measures including the National Self-Exclusion Register,” Minister Ruston said.

The National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering baseline study is available at https://www.dss.gov.au/communities-and-vulnerable-people/programmes- services/gambling

Those in need of help or support are encouraged to contact the National Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au

Media contact:

Sheradyn Holderhead 0418 514 271 (Minister Ruston)
Brad Hatch 0448 162 679 (Minister Fletcher)