Friday, July 12, 2024

Aus to set up voluntary scheme to stop gambling addiction

The Australian government on Monday announced that it will set up a voluntary betting exclusion scheme in August in a bid to stop gambling addiction.

In a statement, the government said that BetStop will allow Australians to exclude themselves from all 150 licensed online gambling companies for a period from three months to permanently, reports Xinhua news agency.

Those companies will not be allowed to open accounts in the name of, accept wagers from or send marketing materials to anyone who is on the register.

It will be rolled out from August 21, as will new rules requiring online gambling companies to verify a customer’s identity before they can place a bet.

“The launch of Australia’s first National Self-Exclusion Register, BetStop, is a game changer, and will make it easy for vulnerable consumers to self-exclude from online wagering services,” Michelle Rowland, the Minister for Communications, said in a statement.

“BetStop is the last of 10 measures to be implemented under the National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering, to empower Australians through stronger consumer protections.”

Australians are among the biggest gamblers in the world.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Australians lost A$25 billion ($16 billion) in gambling in 2018-2019, more per capita than any other country.

A separate survey published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) in March found that 73 per cent of Australians gambled at least once in the last 12 months, almost half of whom were considered at risk of gambling harm.

Monday’s announcement comes after a government-led parliamentary inquiry in June recommended a blanket ban on gambling advertising in Australia within three years, warning children and young people are being “manipulated” to gamble online.

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