BetStop launches as Australia unified self-exclusion scheme

Australia has welcomed the launch of BetStop, the new ‘single point’ gambling self-exclusion scheme available across all six federal states.

BetStop is operated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which in 2022 was instructed to develop a federal self-exclusion scheme to protect vulnerable consumers from gambling risks better.

As agreed by the gambling authorities/boards of the Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory, and Tasmania, all licensed operators must register their player databases with BetStop, regardless of the state in which they are licensed.

The ACMA has been entrusted to operate a “comprehensive self-exclusion system, encompassing all licensed wagering providers in the country, covering both online and telephone-based platforms.”

Changes will require operators to prevent self-excluded players from creating accounts, accepting their bets, and sending them marketing content. Furthermore, all licensed operators must promote BetStop through their platforms and marketing materials.

Using BetStop, players can self-exclude themselves from gambling, ranging from three months to a lifetime. This self-exclusion applies across all licensed wagering service providers in Australia, both online and telephone-based.

As such, Australian online operators must implement a new customer verification process to identify and cross-reference customers with the BetStop database. The previous 72-hour processing window will no longer be applicable to licensed operators.

Upon launching BetStop, the ACMA announced that it would debut a new national public awareness campaign to enhance the reach and effectiveness of self-exclusion for the Australian public.

BetStop’s inception marks the culmination of the ‘National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering’, under which Australia’s government introduced ten new federal measures on safer gambling. These measures include a ban on credit wagering, consistent safer gambling messages, and staff training on customer interventions.

“With the introduction of BetStop, all measures under the National Consumer Protection Framework have been realised, with significant action taken by our Government in just over a year,” commented Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth MP.

“We recognise that minimising the harm caused by online gambling isn’t a set-and-forget exercise, and I eagerly anticipate collaboration with my state and territory counterparts on future measures to continue this positive change. These steps will notably reduce the harm of online gambling. For many, it will be life-changing.”

The Australian government is currently reviewing recommendations from the “gambling market inquiry” published in June.

A group of Labor MPs has urged the Albanese government to state its support for a “ban on ads for online gambling across all media, to be implemented within a three-year period.”