On 27 November 2019, the Interactive Gambling Amendment (National Self-exclusion Register) Bill 2019 (Cth) (“the Interactive Gambling Bill”) and the National Self-exclusion Register (Cost Recovery Levy) Bill 2019 (Cth) (“the Cost Recovery Levy Bill”) were introduced into the Commonwealth House of Representatives by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher.
On 5 December 2019, both Bills passed the through Parliament with no amendments, and are currently awaiting assent.
The Interactive Gambling Bill amends the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) to establish a National Self-exclusion Register (“the Register). The Register will allow Australian residents to exclude themselves from all interactive wagering services by providers in Australia, and limit the amount of direct marketing that they receive. This includes online gambling through websites and apps, and on-course bookmakers’ telephone only services.
The applicant will only need to complete a single registration process. The applicant will also have the flexibility to choose how long they remain on the Register, starting with a minimum self-exclusion period of three-months up to permanent exclusion. Extension of this period can be done at any time, and re-registration will also be available. Individuals will be notified 14 days before their exclusion period ends of their self-exclusion expiry.
Applicants will also be given the option to nominate up to 5 support persons, with their consent, who will be notified when the person registers for self-exclusion, and 14 days prior to when the self-exclusion period ends.
Under the Interactive Gambling Bill, interactive wagering providers will also be required to take steps to promote the Register and ensure that registered individuals are not provided with their services. Providers must ensure that new accounts are not opened, and that existing accounts are closed, with funds returned after existing bets are settled. Both criminal and civil penalties will apply where the provider does not follow the new requirements.
The Interactive Gambling Bill additionally provides that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (“the ACMA”) will enter into an agreement with a third-party technology supplier, who will operate and maintain the register on their behalf. However, the ACMA will be responsible for compliance and enforcement of the Register, and oversight of their technology supplier.
The Cost Recovery Levy Bill supplements the Interactive Gambling Bill by providing for a levy to be imposed on providers of licensed interactive wagering services. The proposed levies aim to allow the ACMA to recover its costs in relation to the Register.
The Cost Recovery Levy Bill sets out the levy, who it applies to, the calculation of the levy, and the limit of the total amount of levies. The total levy amount also provides for the inclusion of the ACMA’s upfront costs in establishing the Register, which is to be recovered over a number of periods in order to prevent excessive upfront costs to the interactive wagering industry.
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Interactive Gambling Amendment (National Self-exclusion Register) Bill 2019 (Cth) and supporting documents available from TimeBase LawOne Service
National Self-exclusion Register (Cost Recovery Levy) Bill 2019 (Cth) and supporting documents available from TimeBase LawOne Service
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