The new scheme means Australia players must have their age and identity verified by operators prior to them depositing funds. They will not be able to gamble or play any online games until this verification is complete.
The system replaces the existing 72-hour window for operators to carry out full verification of identities.
Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) has welcomed the new scheme with CEO Kai Cantwell saying it will help curb underage gambling. Cantwell also says that it will stop self-excluded players from gaining access to gambling websites and help tackle mitigate money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
“RWA members already instantly verify more than 90 per cent of customers’ identities and ages,” Cantwell said. “This will bring the entire industry up to the standard that we already operate at.
“Pre-verification provides online wagering operators the ability to continue to advertise the adoption of safer gambling tools, with customers prompted to set a deposit limit upon registration.”
Cantwell says RWA members provide a range of tools to ensure people can gamble safely. Many of these, Cantwell adds, have been adopted by the Commonwealth government as part of the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF). This is due to be evaluated, with Cantwell saying the RWA will support the process.
“We look forward to engaging in this process to ensure that consumer protections are fit-for-purpose and help Australians stay in control of their gambling behaviour,” Cantwell said.
“Online wagering providers offer the highest level of safety to consumers. The real-time collection of individual customer data allows providers to intervene early when they identify unusual or concerning betting behaviour.
“However, to effectively reduce gambling harm, regulation must be applied consistently across all forms of gambling, not just online.”
Tacking gambling harm in Australia
New verification rules form part of a wider effort to combat gambling harm in Australia. Other schemes have been put in place in recent months while additional proposals are on the table.
Australia has banned the use of credit cards for online wagering. Earlier this month, the government tabled legislation to push ahead with this proposal and ban credit cards. It also covers other credit-related products and digital currencies.
The country has already banned gambling with credit cards at land-based facilities. The bill seeks to bring online gambling in line with this, effectively placing a blanket ban on all credit card gambling.
Meanwhile, the government has introduced evidence-based taglines to replace “Gamble Responsibly” and implemented nationally consistent training for staff working in the sector.
In addition, consumers have access to the BetStop national self-exclusion register. They can self-exclude from gambling with all Australia licensees for periods of between three months and a lifetime.