A law from 2018 is finally coming to life in Australia. Gambling operators will now have to send their customers monthly statements of their activity so they can see how much they spend on a regular basis.
Across Australia, new regulations are arriving to combat problem gambling. The introduction of consumer protection rules is part of that plan, with the new controls beginning on July 31.
As of that date, online gaming operators will need to send regular statements to their users. The guidance is part of the country’s Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering that lawmakers approved four years ago.
Not Out of Sight or Mind
The monthly statements will show users exactly how much they wagered, as well as how much they won or lost. Also included will be the number of bets users placed in the month, as well as a graph that shows their gambling activity in the prior six-month period.
In addition, the information must contain links to all of the transactions so users can verify them online. As part of Australia’s responsible gambling initiatives, the statements will also have to contain details on available responsible gambling programs and resources.
Operators will be responsible for ensuring that all of their customers receive the statements, which they will deliver via email. The only exceptions will be those accounts that have not had any activity in the previous 12 months.
Many jurisdictions are taking a unilateral approach to legislative initiatives for gambling. However, Australia discussed its plans and received feedback from gaming companies and online bookmakers before drafting the final version of the laws.
Also coming at the end of the month will be the country’s national self-exclusion registry. Joining it will be required responsible gambling training for operators’ employees. Users must also be able to set deposit limits during the signup process when creating an online account.
Research that the government has conducted shows positive results with the initiatives. Studies have shown that activity statements help reduce excessive spending and offer better controls.
Online Wagering Continues Popularity
Responsible gambling pundits like to paint the activity in a negative light, and the same is true in Australia. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) conducted a study that showed around 11% of the population placed an online wager sometime during the first half of last year.
That’s a small percentage and doesn’t indicate much of an issue. However, the ACMA added that Australians lose around AU$1,276 (US$887) a year through gambling.
That still doesn’t indicate there’s a problem. On average, more people spend much more than that on other forms of entertainment, including going to the theater or eating out. Many will spend at least that much in just a three- or six-month period. Unfortunately, the ACMA didn’t indicate if its figures reflect an average based on the entire population, or just the 11%.
Several studies have already revealed that Australia doesn’t have a large problem gambling sector, and that’s without the inclusion of a myriad of controls. For example, one study showed that less than 1% – or around 56,000 of the population – would fall into a high-risk category. Only another 1.4% to 2.1% are at moderate risk.
Still, the introduction of a monthly statement is a logical choice. It benefits gamblers and bettors without an overwhelming sense of government control. The majority of bettors who place wagers for the entertainment value are likely to ignore the effort after they get over the initial curiosity factor.
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