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FAQs for wagering providers: National Self-exclusion Register

Register development

When will the register be operational?

The register is currently being tested and should be live mid-2022. The start date will be formally set by the Australian Government.

To get the latest news, subscribe to the ACMA’s newsletter. Visit our newsletter page and tick the ‘Interactive gambling’ box.

What are the Register Rules?

The Register Rules is a legislative instrument that the ACMA will make under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 that will set operational and administration requirements for the register.

The rules were open for public consultation in February and will be finalised before the register starts.

When do wagering providers need to connect to the register?

Licensed interactive wagering providers should connect to the register before it is launched in mid-2022 to comply with their obligations under the Interactive Gambling Act.

The ACMA and the register operator are working with wagering providers so they understand the technical requirements to connect to the register.

Please email nationalselfexclusionregister@acma.gov.au with any questions.

What do wagering providers need to do to connect to the register?

Before the register is operational, wagering providers need to connect to it to make sure they are ready to comply. The ACMA and the register operator are working with wagering providers to ensure the technical requirements are understood and wagering provider systems can connect.

All wagering providers are required to have a system that can connect to the register. Wagering providers should have already considered the changes they will need to make to their systems and processes to connect to the register.

If systems are not managed internally, wagering providers should talk to their betting system provider about how they can help comply with obligations. We have been engaging with the providers of betting software so that they understand how the register will operate and what changes they need to make.

The providers themselves will need to determine what they will do and what action they will take when they become aware of the self‑exclusion status of their customers to comply with the Interactive Gambling Act.

Will there be assistance?

Yes. The onboarding process for industry will be quick and simple. This is being validated through testing and trials with industry. Wagering providers will be provided with comprehensive instructions and guides. We will also host a webinar to talk through the process and wagering providers can contact the register operator for support at any time.

How will the register apply to small bookmakers?

The register will apply to all bookmakers, regardless of size, that offer telephone and/or internet betting (interactive wagering services). All wagering providers are required to have a system that can connect to the register.

We note that many wagering providers do not manage their own IT systems. We expect that approved betting system providers will adjust their systems so that wagering providers can connect to the register. We are engaging with betting system providers as we develop technical solutions for the register.

Small bookmakers should talk to their betting system provider about what their provider is doing to help them comply with their obligations.

Does the register apply to approved wagering systems/platform providers?

Betting system providers are considered ‘contracted service providers’ as defined by the legislation (see section 61NB of the Interactive Gambling Act).

We expect that betting system providers will make changes to their systems so that their wagering provider customers can comply with their obligations once the register is operational.

Industry compliance requirements

What are a wagering provider’s obligations once the register commences?

The Interactive Gambling Act sets out the obligations on providers. These include that licensed interactive wagering providers must:

  • 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 the 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.  

We are working with industry to help providers understand their obligations under the Interactive Gambling Act.

Wagering providers will be expected to comply from the day the register is operational.

When do providers need to check the register?

The Interactive Gambling Act and Register Rules do not prescribe when a wagering provider must check the 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 on the register.

The Register Rules will detail how a wagering provider will make a request, including the information that must be included.

What do wagering providers need to do to prepare to comply?     

Wagering providers should be reviewing their systems, processes and practices, and associated compliance assurance arrangements, to make sure they will be able to comply with the Interactive Gambling Act when the register goes live.

We have put together some key considerations for wagering providers to assist them to comply.

System operation

How much of the process will be automated?

Once the wagering provider has connected to the register, the entire data-matching process will be automated.

A wagering provider will submit a request to the register operator in the approved format and the register operator will respond within the timeframes specified in the Register Rules and performance timeframes specified in the contract with the register operator.

How long will it take for the register operator to respond to a data-matching request?

The register is being developed so it can respond to requests within a fraction of a second. The draft Register Rules requires the register operator to respond to requests within one second.

In their service level standards, the register operator must respond to 97.5% of received individual requests within one second and 99.75% of received individual requests within 5 seconds.

Who is liable if there is a register outage or if the register 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 before launch will include high-demand testing to simulate days such as the Melbourne Cup.

Once operational, 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.

Managing customers

Can a wagering provider add customers to the register?

No. Wagering providers cannot add customers to the 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 register as another option to assist them, in accordance with section 24 of the draft Register Rules.

Will a customer be able to sign up to the register via an interactive wagering provider’s website/app?

No. People can only register through the register website or by phone.

Section 24 of the draft Register Rules specifies how wagering providers must promote the 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 IGA).

How should wagering providers manage self-excluded customers with pending bets?

If a self-excluded customer has pending bets, wagering providers will not be 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 the register is essential. Section 23 of the draft 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 on the 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?

The register will have identity verification requirements that will 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.

Cost recovery

How is the ACMA recovering costs from industry?

The ACMA is empowered to recovery costs for the register through a levy on wagering providers under the National Self-exclusion Register (Cost Recovery Levy) Act 2019.

We publicly consulted on the proposed cost recovery arrangements between December 2021 and February 2022.

We will finalise a Cost Recovery Implementation Statement and make a determination under the Cost Recovery Levy Act before the register starts.

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