Australian authorities move to implement new gambling controls

While the global trend for betting laws has been one of greater relaxation, it’s worth remembering that progress is not a straight line. This message has been reinforced by the news that Australian authorities are looking to introduce new controls in the betting industry for the sake of customer protection.

It should be noted straight away that the new controls are not intended to represent changes to the law in Australia, but to ensure existing laws are more strictly followed by operators. The guidance, which will apply only to operators that hold a licence in the state of Victoria, is aimed at reminding operators of their responsibility to service users. It comes in the wake of findings that two operators, Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment, had been less than rigorous in applying consumer protections in their casinos.

The new controls will offer regulators more resources when it comes to enforcement of the existing laws. They will focus specifically on responsible gaming and require all betting operators to pass information to their customers each month on how much the casino has spent, and on what. Consumers will be given the ability to opt out of direct marketing materials from casinos, a move intended to prevent temptation.

It should be noted that problem gambling is not an issue that has affected Australia in any great volume, with fewer than 1% of the adult population believed to have problems with betting. With reference to these recent measures, it should also be noted that just two operators have been pinpointed as needing to do more to protect their customers. For the most part, the betting industry in Australia has done the right thing by its customers, and the customers have responded by generally taking a responsible approach to iGaming.

What this latest development does tell us is that gambling legislation is a complex issue and writing laws to encourage responsibility can take a few goes. That’s worth bearing in mind with particular view to America, as numerous states there struggle to get laws on the books. As keen as providers and customers may be to get casino gaming into the market, there are a lot of details that need to be got right – and even once those laws go on the books, they may still need some tweaking before they work as they are intended to.

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