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Australia's Move Against Gambling Addiction: BetStop

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has paved the way in the fight against problem gambling with the initiation of BetStop, a platform facilitating self-exclusion from gambling. The optional scheme allows Australian gamblers to restrict their involvement with all 150 officially licensed online betting enterprises for a time span of three months to indefinitely. This initiative is scheduled to kick off on the 21st of August 2023.

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Australia's Move Against Gambling Addiction BetStop
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Functioning & Regulations of the BetStop Scheme

The BetStop programme entails rigorous safeguards for gamblers. Firms enlisted on the platform are banned from creating accounts, entertaining bets, or forwarding promotional content to anyone registered under the scheme. In tandem with BetStop’s introduction, new laws will be enforced mandating the confirmation of a customer’s identity before they are permitted to gamble.

BetStop also guarantees privacy by providing a no-cost service that shields the personal information of its users.

BetStop & the Enhancement of Consumer Safeguarding

BetStop’s inauguration symbolises a significant advancement in Australia’s strategy to curb problem gambling. “Australia’s first National Self-Exclusion Register, BetStop, marks a turning point and will simplify the self-exclusion process for susceptible consumers from online wagering services,” asserted Michelle Rowland, the Minister for Communications.

This strategy forms the concluding element in a collection of 10 measures introduced under the National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering, with a goal to empower Australians through robust consumer safeguards.

Australia’s Increasing Gambling Concerns

The inception of BetStop emerges as a solution to Australia’s intensifying gambling issue. According to recent data, Australians squandered AUD 25 billion ($16.7 billion) on gambling in 2018-2019, a higher per capita loss than any other country worldwide. Research conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) demonstrates that in the past 12 months, 73% of Australians engaged in gambling at least once, with nearly half deemed at risk of gambling-related harm. The birth of BetStop is an optimistic stride towards resolving this pervasive predicament.

In a broader strategy to reduce the societal damage caused by problem gambling, the government has also been recommended to prohibit advertising for Australian online gambling during sports events over the next three years.

BetStop – A Constructive Development

The launch of BetStop is a significant advancement in Australia’s effort to counteract problem gambling. It represents a dedication to addressing problem gambling comprehensively, offering much-needed assistance to at-risk Aussies. As the country confronts the repercussions of problem gambling, initiatives like BetStop are essential in fostering a safer, more accountable gambling culture.

By prioritising consumer safeguarding and imposing stricter regulations on the gambling industry, Australia is establishing a powerful example for other nations dealing with similar concerns. The outcome of this initiative will undoubtedly be closely monitored by international stakeholders as they strive to alleviate the impact of gambling addiction in their own jurisdictions.