Union Amid ACMA and Engine to Start Self-Exclusion Register

By Matilda Karen

Partnerships are quite common in the gambling industry and one of the most recent partnerships to take place is between the ACMA and Engine Australia. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has taken advantage of the latest variation of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to establish a self-exclusion register for Aussie gamblers. This has been in the works for a while as the ACMA has been pushing to get the project done.

The new registry will be run with Engine Australia and the ACMA with the former being brought in to develop and operate it with the launch scheduled for the second or third quarter of 2022.

Understanding Self-Exclusion

Self-exclusion is an important aspect of online gaming as it promotes safety to prevent unhealthy gambling habits. The 2019 Interactive Gambling Amendment Act has authorized the ACMA to handle a register that will be known as the National Self-Exclusion Register. This will operate as a mechanism that will allow players to exclude themselves from any gambling activity.

Most licensed online casinos and gaming sites do provide their registries and self-exclusion portals which allows players to remove themselves from all forms of advertising, marketing, promotional offers, and more. With land-based casinos, players will be able to prevent themselves from entering the building.

Regarding the new union, the register of the ACMA disallows betting operators from contacting or providing individuals with any type of service that pertains to betting. Essentially, any person that places their name on the register won’t be allowed to gamble and operators won’t be allowed to:

  1. Send any electronic messages to an electronic address of the person
  2. Initiate contact via a telemarketing call
  3. Send any controlled direct marketing texts or emails to the person
  4. Disclose information about the person
  5. Establish a betting account for the person

It should also be mentioned that when a betting operator finds a new person on the registry, the account of that person has to be closed immediately. If there is a balance, the funds have to be paid to the person without any delay.

Those that choose to exclude themselves from gambling can do so for an indefinite amount of time, whether it’s a few months or for the rest of their lives. If the time limit of the self-exclusion is coming to an end, the person must be notified by the operator 14 days before the time.

The most unique aspect of the new register is that a support person can be nominated by the individual. All information regarding the said person will be received by the support person, and this includes the notification of the expiration of the registry.

Operated by Engine

Engine Australia was named as the organization that will be developing and operating the National Self-Exclusion Register. Engine was chosen as it came highly recommended by GAMSTOP, the agency responsible for the self-exclusion registry in the UK.

Engine will be required to start with the design and general structure of the register and the website. This will begin shortly as the partnership had been announced by the ACMA in June. The ACMA will also be required to start consulting its shareholders and these will include operators that will be required to adhere to the guidelines of the registry along with government officials that will want to see the law enacted.

Becoming Part of the National Consumer Protection Framework

November 2018 saw an effort across Australia launching the National Consumer Protection Framework. This framework applies to the entire country including various states and territory governments that are working together to cut unhealthy gambling habits that are harming players.

Some measures have been taken, some of which are in effect, this includes:

  • The prohibition of credit lines
  • Stopping betting operators from marketing payday loans
  • The verification of client identification within 14 days after the account has been registered.
  • The reduction of inducements
  • Provision of easy options to close an online gaming account
  • Provision of voluntary opt-out mechanics for clients
  • Provision of a one-stop self-exclusion register

The final measure on the list is the National Self-Exclusion Register aspect of the framework. With Engine, the ACMA project will provide players with a simple self-exclusion from all forms of interactive gambling.

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