ACMA progresses Australia’s first national self-exclusion register

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has praised a “significant milestone” for the country’s first national self-exclusion register for online and phone gambling, with Engine Australia recruited to deliver the project.

Praising the “major step forward,” the government authority has tasked the group with the development and operations of the register, which will allow people to self-exclude from all licensed interactive wagering service providers in a single process.

Engine says that it will commence initial design and development of the solution, before trialling of the service commences later this year ahead of an anticipated launch before mid-2022.

“The register will make a difference for people who want help changing their gambling habits and will complement existing consumer protection measures,” commented Nerida O’Loughlin, ACMA chair.

“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.”

People will be able to exclude for anywhere between three months to permanently, with exclusion to cover licenced online and telephone betting services. Providers will also be prohibited from directly advertising and promoting to any self-excluded person.

O’Loughlin adds in the next phase of development, which will see the ACMA 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.”

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.

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