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Tudge leads push for online gambling consumer protection

Sun, Nov 27, 9:35am by Staff Writer

Federal and state governments across Australia have reached an in-principle agreement to implement a national framework for consumer protection for online gambling.

Federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has led the push for a co-ordinated approach towards harm minimisation in the growing online gambling space.

He met with state and territory ministers last week to urge the implementation of 11 strategies.

Those strategies include a national self-exclusion register for online wagering, a voluntary pre-commitment scheme for online wagering and a ban on lines of credit being offered by wagering providers.

“The agreement will pave the way for stronger protections for everyday gamblers,” Minister Tudge said.

“The rate of problem gambling in the online space is three times higher than elsewhere and online gambling is growing by 15 percent per annum. This means that the problems of the future are all coming from online punting unless we have better protections in place.”

Minister Tudge said the framework was the second stage of the government’s plan to implement the recommendations of the O’Farrell Review into gambling.

The first stage was the introduction of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill, which deals with aspects such as in-play sports betting as well as provision of gambling services from offshore.   

“The O’Farrell Review found that our current consumer protections are weak and considerably below best practice.  These practical initiatives that we have agreed today are aimed at reducing problem gambling, largely by giving people better information and tools to control their expenditure,” Tudge said.

“A national self-exclusion register will be particularly important to help people who know they are starting to get themselves into trouble. With one click, they will be able to self-exclude from all online gambling providers.”

Minister Tudge elaborated further on the new framework when interviewed by the ABC.

“Most people gamble responsibly, they enjoy a punt and hundreds of thousands of people do so every day, but there are some people who literally bankrupt themselves,” he said,

“At the moment in some jurisdictions, online gambling companies can offer a line of credit to their customers, when the customers run out of money.”

“We feel as if there is a complete conflict of interest between gambling companies both being a provider of gambling services and effectively a bank, giving a line of credit to continue using their services, using credit.”


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