The plan started to take shape in 2019, when the newest version of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 enabled the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to establish a self-exclusion register for gamblers. It has taken quite a long time to push the project forward.
The new registry may move along faster in the coming months, as ACMA signed a contract with Engine Australia to develop and operate it. The new expected launch date is the middle of 2022.
What is Self-Exclusion?
The 2019 Interactive Gambling Amendment Act, assented to 12 December 2019, gave ACMA the authority to keep a register to be known as the National Self-Exclusion Register. It will be a mechanism that allows individuals to exclude themselves from any contact regarding licensed interactive wagering services.
Most regulated casinos and online gambling sites provide their own self-exclusion portals or registries. Players can exclude themselves from advertising, promotions, and, in the case of brick-and-mortar casinos, entry into the facilities themselves.
In this case, ACMA’s register will prohibit all wagering operators from contacting or servicing people whose names will be on the register. Operators may not:
- Provide any wagering service to a registered person
- Send or prompt a regulated electronic message to an electronic address of said person
- Make or prompt a telemarketing call to said person
- Send or prompt a regulated direct marketing message of any kind to said individual
- Disclose information about said person for marketing purposes
- Open a wagering account for said person
It should be noted that when a wagering operator first finds a person on the registry that matches a person with an account, the operator must close that account as soon as possible. If there is a balance, it must be paid to that person without delay.
People who exclude themselves can do so for their entire lives or a specified number of years or as few as three months. If the specific amount of time expires, ACMA must notify the individual at least 14 days prior.
One unique aspect of the register is that individuals on the list may nominate a support person. That person will then be allowed to receive information about the self-excluded person, including notification of registry expiration.
Register Will Run on Engine
This week’s announcement from ACMA named the company that will develop and operate the National Self-Exclusion Register. Engine Australia is the company that came highly recommended from GAMSTOP, the self-exclusion registry available to people in the United Kingdom.
The first step will be for Engine to begin the initial design of the register and begin developing the website. Considering that ACMA announced the Engine partnership in late June, the work will likely begin promptly. ACMA must begin consultations with stakeholders. These will include the operators that must adhere to registry guidelines and government officials who want to see their law enacted.
Work will be fast, as ACMA and Engine hope to have a produce ready to conduct trials by the end of 2021. Those trials will enable Engine to work out any bugs and perfect the system for a launch by the middle of 2022 at the latest.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin noted, “The register will make a difference for people who want help changing their gambling habits and will complement existing consumer protection measures. If you choose to self-exclude, this register will ensure your account is closed, your money returned, and no further advertising or promotion activity will be directed your way.”
By the time the site launches, there will be a plan in place to inform Australians about the register and how to use it. They will also work with consumer organizations and advocacy groups in developing the registry and then collaborating to use it to best protect Aussies.
Part of National Consumer Protection Framework
In November 2018, an Australia-wide effort launched the National Consumer Protection Framework. It applies to state and territory governments, all working in unison to reduce gambling harm. It was 10-point plan to address gambling issues and try to reduce the level of harm from online wagering.
Most of those 10 measures are live or in progress:
- Prohibit lines of credit.
- Stop wagering operators from advertising payday loans.
- Verify customer identification within 14 days of registration.
- Reduce inducements.
- Provide easy ways to close online gambling accounts.
- Provide voluntary opt-out mechanisms for players.
- Send activity statements to customers.
- Use mandated messaging about gambling harm.
- Train staff about responsible gambling.
- Provide one-stop self-exclusion register.
The last one is the National Self-Exclusion Register part of that framework. This ACMA project through Engine will provide a self-exclusion from all interactive gambling with one simple step. It will create a much easier process for consumers and provide that consolidated registry to provide to all operators.
The post ACMA Partners with Engine for Self-Exclusion Register appeared first on Australia’s Best Online Casino 2020 – Play Online Casino Games.