Consumer Protection Measures for Australian Online Gambling

With an aim towards protecting Australians engaged in online gambling, the national Department of Social Services (DSS) designed the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering (NCPF). Within the NCPF are ten direct consumer measures to increase in player protection online gambling industry.

Consumer Protections Apply to Commonwealth, States, and Territories

The DSS developed the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering in consultation with state and territorial governments. The ten measures are designed to be uniformly implemented across all Australia, regardless of local jurisdiction.

The ten consumer protections contained in the NCPF act in combination with the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 and its more recent updates. The Interactive Gambling Act sets the rules for all companies that offer gambling services in Australia. Through the NCPF, all gambling service or advertising companies must take measures to reduce the chances of and harm from problem gambling.

The 10 Consumer Protections In the NCPF

The framework designed by DSS contains ten separate consumer protections, so more relevant than the others. Additionally, some of the ten are new regulations while others reinforce prior rules. The ten measures are supposed to be easy-to-use for both individual gamblers and gambling service companies alike.

1: Outlawing Lines of Credit

If an individual uses a company’s service for gambling, that company cannot extend the individual any credit. Though there are limited exceptions, the prohibition is intended to prevent gambling companies from offering services that resemble banks.

2: Prohibiting Payday Lending Services

Gambling service companies cannot advertise, refer, or provide information on their customers to any payday or short-term lending institution. The casino or its operator cannot connect its customers with a lender to provide a liquidity boost that is intended to be added to the customer’s bankroll at the online wagering provider.

3: Quicker ID Verification

The NCPF reduces the amount of time online gambling companies can take to verify their customers’ identities from 90 days to 14 days after registration. The measure is intended to prevent problem gamblers, like those who are on exclusion lists or are underage, from accessing wagering services.

4: Promotional Inducement Restrictions

To operate an online gambling services company in Australia, the casino cannot use inducements to entice customers into opening an account or referring others for account sign-up. The banned inducements include any credits, vouchers, benefits, or rewards. Additionally, if an online casino offers free or bonus credits or tokens after sign-up (such as a loyalty bonus), it cannot restrict those rewards with a playthrough requirement.

5: Simple Account Closure Mechanisms

All gambling service companies must provide their customers with an easy-to-use account closure process, including a prominent display within the same channel that casinos accept bets. Closure or cancellation steps must be prominently displayed, and once a customer initiates the closure process, the casino cannot offer inducements to keep the account active.

6: Pre-Set Deposit Limits

Every Australian gambling customer must be offered a tool for setting limits before they begin wagering. These limits cannot be instantly or quickly exceeded once a player has started gambling.

7: Periodic Gambling Statements

Each player will receive periodic statements from a gambling service company showing wins, losses, and activity on the site.

8: Consistent Warnings Across All Sites

Regulators will eventually require all Australian gambling providers to use consistent language warning of potential harms. The developed language will be required across all communications with players, including direct advertisements, on-site warnings, and marketing materials.

9: Training Staff on Problem Gaming

All staff that work on or can impact online wagering services must be trained in responsible gaming measures. The government intends to use training to create a culture of compliance and awareness at all gambling service companies.

10: Self-Exclusion Register

Finally, anyone experiencing trouble controlling their gambling will be able to register for a self-exclusion list. The one-time sign-up will prevent that player from accessing any online wagering services in Australia.

NCPF Consumer Protection Measures Being Rolled Out

While some of the ten consumer protection planks in the NCPF have been in effect since 2017, 2018, or 2019 (such as the ban on some casinos providing credit to their customers), the rest are still being trialled and developed. For example, the language required regarding problem gambling for consistent marketing and advertising is still being formulated.

However, all ten of the measures will eventually affect all gambling companies and casinos operating in Australia. Regulators and government departments will also likely continue to address problem gambling through additional new, nationwide rules and processes.

Ian Thompson

Poker Expert and Gaming Guru

Ian Thompson, a poker fanatic from his college days, has evolved into a respected connoisseur and writer in the online casino community. At Gamble Online Australia, Ian shares his deep understanding of game strategy and psychology, enriching readers with expert tips and insights.

His self-taught expertise and years of experience make his contributions not just informative but also essential for anyone serious about mastering any casino game.

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