This morning (28 June 2023), the long-awaited report entitled “Online gambling and its impacts on those experiencing gambling harm” was released by the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs of the Australian House of Representatives.
This report contains 31 recommendations, which seek to address gambling harm and put in place various regulatory measures to reduce that harm. If implemented, many of these recommendations will impact significantly on the manner in which Australian licensed online gambling operators conduct business. It will also have an impact on those parties involved in the supply of interactive games and games available from online app stores.
Among the key recommendations are:
- the establishment of a national online gambling regulator responsible for the regulation and licensing of online gambling (including the appointment of an online gambling ombudsman);
- the requirement for verification to be conducted of all customers prior to the commencement of any online gambling;
- a prohibition on commissions being paid to any party, including affiliates and staff, in the referral of online gambling customers;
- a comprehensive ban on all forms of gambling advertising over a period of three years, with phase one being a prohibition of online gambling inducements and advertising of online gambling on social media and online platforms (noting that the advertising prohibition will not extend to dedicated racing channels and programming);
- the imposition of a duty of care on online wagering service providers; and
- that consultation take place to determine minimum bet limits for online wagering.
The government will now consider the report and recommendations. It is anticipated that a considerable number of the recommendations will be accepted with legislative reform likely to be introduced in the near future.
These changes are likely to impact significantly on the business operations of Australia’s licensed online wagering operators, particularly the extent to which they are able to promote their services and also the nature and manner in which those services may be provided. What is also clear is that illegal offshore online gambling operators will, if these reforms are introduced, likely be more attractive to Australians wishing to gamble online. Accordingly, we would also anticipate that additional effort will need to be taken to impose barriers on those offshore operators providing services to Australians.
For further information relating to this report or otherwise related to gambling regulation, please contact any member of the Addisons Gambling Team.