Gambling ministers agree to new limits on inducements, ease of account closure

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A dealer distributes cards at the Betfair Asian Poker Tour in Singapore November 12, 2006. Reuters/Nicky Loh

Gambling ministers have agreed to new measures including ease of account closure and limits on inducements. The reforms to online wagering have been discussed at a recent meeting of commonwealth, state and territory gambling ministers who met in Melbourne last week.

Ministers expressed their intention for the National Framework to include stronger restrictions on inducements as well as mandating requirements on account closures. At least nine measures were reportedly progressed with the goal that they will be implemented throughout next year.

Ministers agreed to new limits on inducements to open an account or refer a friend to open an account. The recent reforms that ministers have agreed by match other steps previously taken. These include banning gambling advertising from live sporting events before 8:30 pm AEST. It also includes the crackdown on illegal offshore gambling providers with the passage of the Interactive Gambling Act, as well as the prohibition of gambling companies that offer lines of credit to their customers to keep betting.

During the latest meeting, the gambling ministers agreed it must be easier for gamblers to close accounts with a simple process. Ministers have also reaffirmed their pledge to ensure greater protection for Aussies gambling online. The Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge chaired the meeting.

Tudge said steady progress is being made. He explained that the goal is to ensure there are reasonable protections in place and gamblers can have better control over their expenditure.

“Online gambling is growing faster than any other form of gambling and the incidences of problem gambling is higher,” the minister said in a press release. He believes that future gambling issues will all come from the online space if sensible protections are not put in place.

“Today, we agreed sensible limits on inducements so that people aren’t encouraged to spend more money when they may already be in trouble,” Tudge added. He explained that a National Self Exclusion Register means punters can check one of their gambling apps and self-exclude from all gambling providers with an uncomplicated process.

Tudge maintained that the new reforms, along with limits on advertising and the crackdown on the illegal offshore providers, will result to substantial difference to limiting the harm from too much gambling. According to a media release published at mhs.gov.au, ministers also recognised the work that Commonwealth and state and territory officials have undertaken through their engagement with the wagering sector, the community sector, academics and individuals.

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