Australia’s first national self-exclusion register for online and phone gambling has taken a major step forward with the appointment of Engine Australia (Engine) to deliver the project.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has engaged Engine to develop and operate the National Self-Exclusion Register, which will allow people to self-exclude from all licensed interactive wagering service providers in a single process.
People will be able to exclude for anywhere between three months to permanently. Exclusion will cover licenced online and telephone betting services such as those offering betting on horse racing and sports. Providers will also be prohibited from directly advertising and promoting to any self-excluded person.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin welcomed Engine’s appointment and said this is a significant step toward a critical consumer safeguard.
“The register will make a difference for people who want help changing their gambling habits and will complement existing consumer protection measures,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
“If you choose to self-exclude, this register will ensure your account is closed, your money returned, and no further advertising or promotion activity will be directed your way.
“Engine is well-placed to deliver this protection having designed and developed GAMSTOP, the United Kingdom’s self-exclusion register.”
Ms O’Loughlin said the project now moves into its next phase of development with the ACMA set to begin extensive consultations with stakeholders.
“Through our consultation, we will engage with the interactive wagering industry on the design of the system and the rules around the operation of the register. We will also work with consumers and advocacy groups to ensure that the register meets the needs of users, including putting in place robust privacy safeguards.”
Engine will now commence initial design and development of the solution. Trialling of the service is expected to commence later this year ahead of an anticipated launch before mid-2022.
While the register is being implemented, people can contact individual wagering providers to self-exclude from their services or register with other existing programs, such as that offered by the Northern Territory Racing Commission, which covers many of the large corporate bookmakers in Australia.