The new rules implemented were designed to limit online gambling operators and affiliates, including Ladbrokes, TAB, BetEasy, Sportsbet and TAB, marketing opportunities, greatly affecting the manner in which they will be able to market or promote their products to their current and potential customers in the Australian state of Victoria.
Online gaming operators and their affiliates are now required to act in accordance with the new rules implemented, mainly trying to ensure that there are limits set on betting account deposits, as well as banning incentives such as vouchers, credits cards or other rewards, which encourage consumers, their family and friends to participate in gambling by opening a betting account too.
In addition to the above measures, gaming operators and their affiliates are also banned from providing complementary bets which can only be used on the condition that the consumer/gambler can only use their earned winnings to continue betting – they, the gambler, will now only be given the option to withdraw their winnings earned.
From now on, if consumers wish to receive direct marketing from gaming operators and their affiliates, they must proactively choose to do so and if they do open an account – there should be user-friendly easy-to-access tools which they can easily set limits on the amount of money which they can be deposited to their account. On the reverse, if someone wishes to close their account, operators should ensure that it is easy for their customers to do so.
The new gaming laws implemented are completely new to Australia, Victoria being the first state in the country to sign up to the national framework. Gaming and Liquor Regulation State Minister, Marlene Kairouz, feels confident that Victoria’s gambling sector is the best regulated in the whole of Australia thanks to being the first to sign up to the national framework.
She went on to mention how she encourages other Australian states and territories to follow the lead of Victoria, as she believes the changes enable consumers and online betting operators to make better and more empowering choices. Marlene added that they were the first to implement the new rules as it will assist them in better protecting and managing their state’s gambling better.
Victorian Responsible Gaming Foundation chief executive, Shane Lucas, showed further support and welcome for Victoria implementing these new gaming measures mentioning that having easily accessible information and tools which monitor/manage individuals gambling is a great step towards protecting consumers against the harmful effects of gambling, which is the goal of their organization.
Liquor & Gaming NSW spokesman mentioned that Victoria had the country’s toughest restrictions on gambling inducements, including a blanket ban on advertising of inducements to gamble with a hiked maximum fine of $55 000.
Australians lose more on casino and poker games ($17 billion) than they do on racing ($3.3 billion) and betting on sport (1.06$ billion) per year. However, online wagering has surged in popularity and has named itself the fastest-growing form of gambling nationally. This trend has Australian lawmakers around the country concerned, some holding the belief that there is a lack of sufficient protection for online gambling compared to land-based venues, pubs and casinos. They have been looking for answers to help prevent users from developing unhealthy or problematic gambling habits.
It is estimated that by May 2020, the new rules should be implemented by the rest of Australia too. Since the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering was specifically designed to consistently protect Australian consumers who use wagering services, we are happy to agree that the rules should in fact be implemented nationally. After the 2015 Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering, following concerns about the prevalence of problem gambling among online gamblers growing and claims that the rate of problem gambling for online gamblers was triple the rate of other kinds of gambling, the new rules were then introduced by the federal government. In December 2018, Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, spoke about the measures mentioning that they were designed to protect individuals and families from the risk and harm of online gambling, along with the individuals and their families who have been affected by excessive online gambling. He continued, adding that the new National Framework should apply to around 2.5 million active gambling accounts and around one million Australians.
Some were surprised to hear that ASX-Listed Tabcorp, one of the biggest igaming companies in Australia which runs retail and online betting, showed great support for the new rules to be implemented and mentioned that they would only promote and offer betting in a more balanced and responsible manner from now on.
Once the new gambling measures are implemented throughout the whole of Australia, they will represent an important development for protecting consumers against harmful gambling and sports wagering online. While there may be possible shortcomings, they can be figured out and we do believe that these new laws are a positive change for online gambling in Australia.