The Australian government has launched the nationwide self-exclusion service BetStop and imposed a customer pre-verification regime, completing activation of all ten items of the online gambling National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF).
Australia-based customers can now exclude themselves from all wagering websites and telephone-based wagering services that are licensed by the nation’s six state governments and the Northern Territory using the free, one-stop BetStop service, the federal government said on Monday (August 21).
Self-exclusion periods include three months, six months, a lifetime or a customer-nominated period between three months and 11 years, the BetStop website shows.
“These measures will help to minimise the harm we see as a result of online gambling,” federal social services minister Amanda Rishworth said in a statement on Monday. “For many people, it will change their lives.
“We know minimising the harm caused by online gambling is not a set and forget exercise and I look forward to working with my state and territory counterparts on what comes next to continue this positive change.”
Bookmakers are prohibited from opening accounts with, accepting bets from, or marketing to BetStop self-excluders.
In tandem with the BetStop launch, the federal government will ditch a 72-hour operator grace period for verification of customer identity.
Instead, by the end of next month, operators will need to verify customer identity before accounts can be opened.
“The launch of BetStop and introduction of customer pre-verification build on the [federal] government’s commitment to ban the use of credit cards for online wagering, and strengthen classification of gambling-like features in video games, including loot boxes and simulated gambling,” the statement said.
The BetStop launch represents the final major initiative of the NCPF to be implemented, almost five years after the framework was announced.
The other eight of the NCPF’s ten items, including bans on operator lines of credit, advertising restrictions and transparent customer-usage data, have been introduced by state and territory governments at their own pace, leading to delays and difficulties with coordination.
The evolution of BetStop was also hindered by software contractor Big Village Australia, which went into voluntary administration in January and only sold its intellectual property and BetStop contract with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to the current operator in June.
The new BetStop operator is Australian encryption technology listco IXUP, pronounced “eyes up”, which cancelled a sports-betting technology deal with Melbourne-based Cipher Sports Technology Group in favour of the national self-exclusion register.
Company non-executive chairman Julian Babarczy said in a media release on June 13 that its BetStop acquisition would be a “key foundational contract that will increase IXUP’s credibility in its various international commercialisation endeavours”.
The federal government statement on Monday added that BetStop has been “subject to extensive testing and training to ensure it provides a secure and trusted environment for years”.
Jamie Nettleton, a Sydney-based partner with law firm Addisons, said in a subscriber insight on Monday that corporate bookmakers registered in the Northern Territory — the majority of the Australian market — will need to remain compliant with Northern Territory Racing Commission requirements until any changeover recognises BetStop’s launch.
Nettleton added that corporate bookmakers should review anti-money laundering risk assessments, terms and conditions for customers and marketing practices to ensure compliance with the BetStop and pre-verification changes.