Victoria moves first to toughen online gambling rules
In an Australian-first, the Andrews Labor Government is tightening rules for online betting operators in a bid to provide stronger consumer protections for Victorians gambling online.
From 26 May 2019, online betting operators must comply with strict requirements for betting account deposit limits, restrictions on direct marketing and a ban on perks that encourage consumers to continue betting.
Gambling is moving increasingly to apps and websites, and new rules are necessary to keep up with technological advancements while also providing consumers with autonomy to make informed decisions about their gambling.
The new betting rules will Ban wagering service providers from offering credit, vouchers or other rewards to an account holder as an incentive to refer their family or friends to open a betting account.
Stop operators from providing complementary or free bets on the condition that account holders can only use the winnings to continue to bet, rather than giving customers an option to withdraw the funds.
Require consumers to opt-in to receive direct marketing from a wagering service provider.
Provide consumers with simple and easy-to-use tools to set limits on the amount of money that can be deposited into their betting accounts.
Ensure consumers can easily close their betting account if they choose to do so, while also restricting gambling providers from offering credit or other rewards to encourage consumers to keep their betting account open.
The measures have been introduced following an agreement between state and federal governments to commit to the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering.
Consumer protections will be implemented progressively, with all other measures to commence by May 2020.
As stated by Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz
“These Australian-first changes are about tightening the rules for online betting operators and empowering consumers to make better choices – and I encourage other states and territories to follow our lead.”
“Victoria is the first state to sign up to the national framework because it offers greater protection to people who gamble online and gives them practical steps to better manage their gambling.”
As stated by Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation Chief Executive Shane Lucas “Providing individuals with easily accessible tools and information to monitor and manage their gambling are important steps in reducing and preventing gambling harm.”