Online Gaming, Wagering in Victoria, Australia, Face New Controls

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Online Gaming, Wagering in Victoria, Australia, Face New Controls

Australia’s gaming industry is undergoing an overhaul at various levels. The latest changes are coming to Victoria and include modifications to how online gaming operators conduct business.

Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne
Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne
Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne holding a press conference. She is now ready to advance further controls of Victoria’s gambling industry. (Image: Sydney Morning Herald)

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), the new state gaming regulator, is getting additional powers to oversee the industry. On the heels of investigations into how Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment have poorly managed their casino operations, the VGCCC is dedicating more resources toward ensuring all gaming operators play by the rules.

Under guidance in a new Ministerial Direction, online betting and gambling operators will have to increase their oversight of users. Victoria hopes that more reporting and more controls will provide better tools to prevent gambling harm in the state.

Operators Must Be Proactive

Going forward, betting operators will have to turn over to their customers a monthly statement of how much they spent that month. In addition, operators will need to have all of their staff attend Responsible Service of Wagering training. This includes identifying possible signs of gambling harm and how to foster a responsible gambling environment.

Consumers will now have more control over their interaction with operators, as well. As part of the new guidelines, they can opt-out of direct marketing materials in order to reduce the risk of temptation.

These new measures mean more Victorians are in control of their gambling habits and wagering and betting gaming providers are given stronger responsibilities to keep their consumers safe,” said Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne.

The new rules apply to all online operators that hold a license in Victoria. Even if they don’t provide their services to the state, and only to users in other states, the requirements apply to them.

The Road to Responsible Gambling

While Crown and Star both showed a propensity for breaking the rules as they facilitated money laundering, that only served as one catalyst for changes. Before regulators began working to force operators to adhere better to guidelines, they were working to offer better protections to consumers.

Prior to their actions, Victoria developed the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF) for online wagering in 2019. This has led to a myriad of consumer controls in the state, as well as in other Australian territories.

Overall, Australia doesn’t have a high rate of problem gambling. Finder.com cites data that indicates that between 0.5% and 1% (only around 56,000) of the adult population in the country are in the problem gambling category. Another 1.4% to 2.1% have a moderate risk of experiencing gambling problems.

In order to keep it that way, the NCPF became the foundation for the creation of a number of safe gambling initiatives. For example, it led to the prohibition of lines of credit for gambling and increased ID verification measures. In addition, it helped introduce voluntary deposit limits and Australia’s national self-exclusion register.

Australia continues to advance its responsible gambling protocols at the consumer and operator levels. As a result, operators must recognize that they are now permanently in the spotlight. Horne added in her statement that online betting companies must follow the regulations or face penalties.

The VGCCC now has more power and is introducing larger fines. As a result, operators have more at stake if they don’t toe the line.

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