15 Mar

NXT Proposes Self-Exclusion for Australia Online Wagering

Australia online wagering has become just as popular as the land-based variety. Any wager that can be placed at a pub or club’s retail betting shop can be made just as easily over the internet. However, the laws that regulate such activities vary greatly between the two.

In an effort to curb problem gambling in the country, the Nick Xenophon Team, aka (NXT), is looking to alter the way self-exclusion laws are prescribed. An amendment has been introduced that would create a national self-exclusion list for Australia online wagering sites, similar to the current barring orders available for local betting shops.

Australia Online Wagering Self-Exclusion Proposal

At present, a problem gambler who recognizes they have a problem can add their name to a list that initiates barring orders for all pubs and clubs. This excludes them from placing bets with all relative retailers. They will not, however, be excluded from online betting.

Australia Online Wagering Self-Exclusion

In order to get on a self-exclusion list for any Australia online wagering site, the person must go online to each and every available website, one at a time, and fill out a self-exclusion form; something that NXT Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore says, “doesn’t make sense.”

Some websites make it a lot harder for problem gamblers to complete the process. “A lot of these companies actually require that you fill out a form and get it witnessed for any barring to be put in place,” she said.

“If someone is ashamed because they have a problem gambling, these sort of requirements are only going to make them less likely to go through with asking to be barred,” the Senator explained.

NXT wants to institute a national registry that would give gamblers better self-exclusion rights; a “one-stop shop” for submitting their information and barring them from betting at any Australia online wagering sites.

The proposal, if supported, would be an extension of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill that’s expected to go up for debate in Parliament sometime this month. Thus far, neither the Coalition or Labor groups have issued an opinion on the matter.

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) is “very keen” on the concept, according to that groups Executive Director, Stephen Conroy.

Similarly, Dr. Anna Thomas of the Australian Institute of Family Studies Gambling Research Centre, believes a national registry would be “really good practice”.

Dr. Thomas noted that any self-exclusion program would only be effective if it “works across all operators, not just one. It is so people can really quickly stop.”

Third-Party Exclusion?

There’s another piece to the puzzle that’s been mentioned, but according to Senator Kakoschke-Moore, there’s no current plans to put it in the proposal. There’s been talk of allowing a third-party, such as a friend or family member, to submit self-exclusion on the behalf of a problem gambler.

While the NXT Senator believes this option to be a natural extension of the self-exclusion proposal for Australia online wagering, there are certainly many who would disagree. Giving people such power over another could easily be construed as a violation of basic human rights.

Had third-party barring orders been stipulated in this new proposal, the whole concept would surely be shot down in Parliament. NXT surely won’t try to push for that until a national self-exclusion registry gains enough support, and even then, the odds are slim.