Delay to Australian self exclusion scheme

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The plan to introduce an Australia-wide self-exclusion scheme for those attempting to give up online gambling has been delayed, as Queensland has yet to sign off on the scheme.

Every other state and territory government has agreed to a raft of measures designed to tackle problem gambling and to improve customer protection in the online betting industry, including the program that would allow problem gamblers to self-exclude nationwide with one click.

The scheme, which was first put out for consultation in 2017, also includes a voluntary, opt-out system that enables individuals to set their own gambling limits and an Australia-wide ban on bookmakers and gambling operators offering inducements for people to set up account.

According to the Social Services minister, Paul Fletcher, who is leading the attempt to implement the scheme, the online self-exclusion element is a critical component of the scheme, known as the National Consumer Protection Framework. But inside sources suggest that the national government has been putting pressure on Queensland attorney-general, Yvette D’Ath, to push ahead with securing the approval of Queensland lawmakers.

Declined to comment

Ms D’Ath has so far declined to comment on the delay in agreeing to the scheme, but a spokeswoman said that the Queensland government was intent on finalising it by the end of the year. 

But the delay has frustrated campaigners, who have been pushing for a self-exclusion scheme for years, including Lauren Levin, of Financial Counselling Australia, who has urged the government to make the scheme a priority:

I’m really impatient, because it has been three years of submissions and consultations, and the legislation hasn’t even been introduced yet.”

The scheme also has the backing of the gambling industry, including Tabcorp, which operates retail and online gambling services, and online bookmakers including Ladbrokes, Betfair, and Bet365.

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