Australian Parliament passes self-exclusion bill

5 December 2019

The Australian Parliament has approved legislation to establish the country’s National Self-Exclusion Register, with the Morrison Government hailing its passage as filling a “critical gap” in the country’s consumer protection safeguards.

The Senate and House of Representatives have passed a bill to legally introduce the self-exclusion system, and a companion bill, to introduce a levy to cover the costs of launching it. Each was introduced to the legislature last week.

The first, the Interactive Gambling Amendment (National Self-exclusion Register) Bill 2019, gives the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ultimate responsibility for oversight of the register.

The ACMA must arrange for a body to manage the self-exclusion database. Once players register, licensed interactive wagering operators must not communicate with these individuals, or disclose any information about these customers for marketing purposes.

Operators that target self-excluded players, or allow such players to sign up for an account, will be hit with a fine of between 60 and 180 penalty units. A penalty unit is a fine of varying value dependent on which Australian state the offence occurs, generally of at least AUD$100 per unit.

The accompanying National Self-exclusion Register (Cost Recovery Levy) Bill 2019, meanwhile, states that ACMA will be responsible for determining the levy on each licensee. In total this sum must not exceed the total outlay of ACMA on the self-exclusion project.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the passage of the bills would ensure the government has the necessary power to ensure the industry is compliant and funds the National Self-Exclusion Register.

“The Register will allow people to quickly and easily exclude themselves from all interactive wagering services licenced in Australia through a single registration process,” Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said.

“This will meet a critical gap in consumer protection for Australians who gamble online and reduce the harm of online wagering to vulnerable consumers,” she explained. “I would like to thank organisations like Tabcorp, Responsible Wagering Australia and Financial Counselling Australia for their input to date to implement the Register.”

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher added that ACMA had already launched a request for expressions of interest as it begins the process of procuring a third party technology partner to supply, operate and maintain the register.