Industry compliance requirements
What are a wagering provider’s obligations in relation to BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register?
- not open new accounts for self-excluded individuals
- not provide wagering services to self-excluded individuals
- not market to self-excluded individuals
- close accounts of self-excluded individuals
- not disclose information about self-excluded individuals unless authorised
- promote BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register.
For most obligations, the Interactive Gambling Act establishes that a provider does not commit an offence if they have taken reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to comply. The onus is on the wagering provider to prove they have done so if they wish to rely on this exception. As such, thorough record keeping will be essential to wagering providers being able to demonstrate compliance or that it had taken reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to comply with its obligations.
Non-compliance can lead to formal warnings, infringement notices, civil penalty orders or injunctions from a court, or criminal prosecution.
What are the Register rules?
The Register rules specify how interactive wagering providers must:
- make requests to the register operator to check whether their customers are self-excluded, including the information to be included in the request
- promote BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register.
Wagering providers should read the Register rules to understand their compliance requirements.
Do wagering providers need to connect to BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register?
Licensed interactive wagering providers must be connected to BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register to comply with their obligations under the Interactive Gambling Act. Smaller operators, including those that accept phone bets, may need to connect through their betting system provider.
A failure to take all reasonable steps to connect to the system and be compliant could result in significant penalties.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about connecting to the service.
When do providers need to check BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register?
The Interactive Gambling Act and Register rules do not prescribe when a wagering provider must check BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register. Rather, the Interactive Gambling Act prohibits wagering providers from:
- opening an account for a self-excluded individual
- providing interactive wagering services to a self-excluded individual (placing a bet)
- direct marketing to a self-excluded individual.
To avoid committing an offence, a wagering provider can submit requests to the register operator to check if one or more of their customers have self-excluded.
The Register rules detail how a wagering provider should make a request, including the information that must be included in the request.
How much of the process is automated?
Once the wagering provider has connected to BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register, the entire data-matching process is automated.
The register has been developed to respond to requests within a fraction of a second.
Who is liable if there is an outage or if the system cannot cope in busy periods, for example, on Melbourne Cup Day?
We have robust contractual mechanisms to ensure the register operator delivers and operates a high-performance, scalable system. Testing has included testing high-demand scenarios to simulate days such as the Melbourne Cup.
If there are technical issues with the register that result in wagering providers being unable to submit requests to the register operator, providers should appropriately log this information so that they are able to demonstrate that they took all reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid committing an offence.
The register operator is also required to keep details of any technical issues it may experience. This information will be available to the ACMA and can be used to inform our decisions in relation to complaints-handling or compliance.
Does a wagering provider have to open a new account for someone where their previous account was closed because they had self-excluded?
Yes, sections 61MB and MC of the Interactive Gambling Act require a wagering provider to close the account of someone who has self-excluded and state that, if the account has been closed, the provider must not reopen, reactivate or reinstate the account.
The requirements under the Interactive Gambling Act do not require a wagering provider to delete the customer record.
Hence, wagering providers, knowing that a person has previously self-excluded, would be able to apply appropriate flags to that customer as part of its responsible gambling program.
Would sending an activity statement to someone who has self-excluded contravene the direct marketing prohibitions?
The answer will ultimately turn on the context and content of the activity statement and the way it is communicated to customers.
To ensure that a provider does not contravene the Interactive Gambling Act, a provider needs to take care to not directly communicate to a self-excluded consumer in a way that advertises, promotes or offers to provide interactive wagering services.
Sections 61GF, GG and GH of the Interactive Gambling Act outline what the ACMA will take into account in considering whether electronic messages, voice calls or direct marketing material are commercial (or ‘regulated’) in nature. These considerations also include the content that can be obtained using any links, telephone numbers, URLs, etc. contained in the message, call or material.
Can a wagering provider add customers to BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register?
No. Wagering providers cannot add customers to BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register; individuals must choose to register themselves.
If a customer seeks to self-exclude from wagering services directly through a wagering provider, the provider should make them aware of the service as another option to assist them, in accordance with section 25 of the Register rules.
Can a customer sign up to BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register via an interactive wagering provider’s website/app?
No. People can only register through the register’s website or by phone.
Section 25 of the Register rules specifies how wagering providers must promote BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register, including providing links and information on their websites and through their apps.
Can a customer choose to leave money in their account when they self‑exclude?
No. A wagering provider must close the accounts of any self-excluded customers and refund any money in the account (see section 61MB of the Interactive Gambling Act).
How should wagering providers manage self-excluded customers with pending bets?
If a self-excluded customer has pending bets, wagering providers are not required to close their account until all pending bets are resolved (see section 61MC of the Interactive Gambling Act). However, wagering providers must take steps to prevent the customer placing new bets while the pending bets are being resolved.
Once the pending bets are resolved, wagering providers should refund any money and close the account.
What should wagering providers tell customers if they attempt to log in or place a bet while self-excluded?
Consistent messaging about BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register is essential. Section 24 of the Register rules sets out what wagering providers should do if they are advised that their current or prospective customers have self-excluded.
What happens if a customer changes details (for example, address or contact details) and is subsequently allowed to place a bet?
Self-excluded individuals will be reminded that they should keep their details with BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register up to date.
If a wagering provider allows a registered individual to open an account or place a bet, it would need to demonstrate that it undertook reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid committing an offence.
What happens if a self-excluded customer creates a new account with fake details to deliberately avoid detection?
BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register has identity verification requirements to prevent incorrect or fake details being used for registration. Wagering providers should also have robust processes to ensure that accurate customer information is captured during the registration and verification process.
If a wagering provider allows a customer to open an account or place a bet, it would need to demonstrate that it undertook reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid being found to have committed an offence.
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How is the ACMA recovering costs from industry?
The ACMA is empowered to recover costs for the register through a levy on wagering providers under the National Self-exclusion Register (Cost Recovery Levy) Act 2019.
We made the National Self-Exclusion Register (Cost Recovery Levy) Determination 2022, which details the model for recovering costs from industry.
The ACMA updated this determination in August 2023 through the National Self-exclusion Register (Cost Recovery Levy) Determination Variation 2023 (No. 1). The variation reflects that cost recovery will begin in the 2023-24 financial year and adjusts the ACMA’s phased recovery of its upfront costs.
Further information about the cost recovery arrangements is detailed in the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement.
How much will a provider pay?
The cost recovery model is tied to a wagering provider’s proportional use of the service. The levy will be applied annually in arrears. Therefore, the first invoice will be issued after the end of the levy period covering the 2023–24 financial year.
Cost recovery arrangements commenced on 21 August 2023. From this date, each provider’s use of the Register is being used to calculate the levy.
Will these arrangements be reviewed in the future?
We will review the cost recovery arrangements and consult with stakeholders annually. This will ensure cost recovery arrangements remain appropriate and stakeholder views are considered.