Australian National Self-Exclusion Register In The Pipeline

The ACMA is in the final stages of launching Australia's first national self-exclusion register, a scheme designed to protect gamblers.

Australian gamblers will soon have the ability to sign a national self-exclusion register and make it impossible to place bets. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is finalising the first national self-exclusion register.

It is no secret that Australians love to gamble. Similarly, it is no secret that there are many problem gamblers within this country’s borders. The ACMA is working on several projects that protect players within the gambling industry. A self-exclusion register is high on the agenda. The ACMA hopes giving gamblers the ability to self-police their gambling activity will result in a reduction in problem gamblers in Australia.

Anyone signing the self-exclusion register is immediately unable to place any bets with licensed interactive wagering services. In addition, it makes it impossible to open a new account in their name. Furthermore, marketing messages are stopped with immediate effect.

Once launched, anyone signing the self-exclusion register can sign up for a period of three months up to a lifetime. There is no way to come off the register before your chosen time is up.

A Similar Self-Exclusion Scheme Works in the United Kingdom

Most online casinos and sports betting sites have a self-exclusion option built into the software. Players can take a break of 24 hours if they feel they need to cool off. Longer periods, including lifetime, are available.

Every gambling company the UK Gambling Commission licences must have such features in place.

GAMSTOP takes things one step further; it operates similarly to how the new Australian register works. GAMSTOP is a free-to-use service in the UK that prevents people from gambling for six months, one year, or five years. Users enter some personal information on the GAMSTOP website and this information is cross-checked by online gambling companies when a person creates a new account or logs into existing accounts. Companies ignoring a person that is on the GAMSTOP register are in breach of their licences.

Facial recognition software is one way live casinos are preventing self-excluded patrons from gambling. Casinos and gaming room owners in South Australia deployed facial recognition technology in December 2020. The technology is not anything new because it has been around since the 1960s. However, the tech has come on in leaps and bounds since then, and can now recognise faces even if someone wear a hat or even a basic fae covering.

Star Sydney uses the facial recognition tech, while Tabcorp trialled it for eight weeks in January 2020. The system is under scrutiny with some sections claiming it is an invasion of privacy.

Additional Protective Measures Incoming

It is not only a national self-exclusion register the ACMA is working on but other protective measures too. Text message scams and misinformation are two areas the ACMA is dedicating resources to. The ACMA is giving the public increased insight into how they can avoid being tricked by criminals.

Nerida O’Loughlin is the ACMA Chair. She explained the harm SMS scams and misinformation causes the public.

“SMS scams have risen sharply over the last year, and we will soon be registering new rules for telcos requiring them to track and block those messages. Online misinformation is also a growing cause for concern, so we will continue to review digital platforms’ performance under the recently implemented industry code and advise the government on their effectiveness.”

The number of scam text messages and emails soared during the COVID-19-related lockdowns. Criminals bombarded Australians with millions of text messages claiming to offer a range of services. These included COVID-19-related insurance payments, targeting the most vulnerable members of society.

The new ACMA measures put the onus on telecoms companies regarding scam messages. It will be up to them to track and ultimately block these scam messages.