Ensuring Consumer Protection in Australian Online Gambling
The National Consumer Protection Framework for online gambling (NCPF), devised by the Department of Social Services (DSS), is committed to safeguarding Australians engaged in online gambling. It comprises ten direct consumer safeguards aimed at enhancing player protection within the online gambling sector.
Consumer Protections Universally Applicable
These consumer protections are universally applicable, extending across the Commonwealth, States, and Territories. Developed in consultation with state and territorial governments, they harmonize regulations throughout Australia, irrespective of local jurisdiction.
These ten safeguards, in conjunction with the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 and its recent updates, establish the regulatory framework governing gambling service providers in Australia. Through the NCPF, all gambling service companies are obliged to take measures that reduce the risk of problem gambling and associated harm.
The Ten Consumer Protections in the NCPF
- Prohibiting Lines of Credit: Gambling companies are forbidden from extending credit to customers to prevent them from resembling financial institutions.
- Banning Payday Lending Services: Gambling companies cannot associate with or provide customer information to payday or short-term lending institutions.
- Streamlined ID Verification: The NCPF reduces the time for verifying customer identities from 90 to 14 days after registration.
- Restricting Promotional Inducements: Companies cannot use incentives like credits, vouchers, or rewards to entice customers to open accounts.
- Simplifying Account Closure: Companies must offer a straightforward account closure process without inducing customers to keep their accounts active.
- Pre-Set Deposit Limits: Customers must have tools to set limits on their gambling before wagering.
- Periodic Gambling Statements: Players receive periodic statements displaying wins, losses, and activity on the site.
- Consistent Warnings: All gambling providers must use uniform language for warnings across all communications with players.
- Staff Training on Problem Gaming: Employees impacting online wagering services must undergo responsible gaming training.
- Self-Exclusion: Players struggling with gambling control can register for self-exclusion to bar access to all online wagering services in Australia.
NCPF Consumer Protection Measures
While some protections have been in effect since 2017, 2018, or 2019, others are still under development. For instance, consistent language regarding problem gambling in marketing and advertising is being formulated. However, all ten measures will eventually apply to all gambling companies and casinos in Australia. Regulators and government departments will continue addressing problem gambling through new, nationwide rules and processes.