Australia’s Self-Exclusion Register Gets a Name


For quite some time, people across Australia have been talking about the impending self-exclusion register for legal online gambling. Well, now this list has a name, as well as a launch date (sort of).

The register will be known as BetStop, and it’s scheduled to launch before the end of 2022. Once it comes online, problem gamblers will be able to ban themselves from any legal betting provider operating within Australia.

Please note that this list doesn’t apply to online casinos, as they’re not technically legal in the first place. This will mainly impact sports betting sites, but that’s still a mighty big part of the industry.

The timing couldn’t be better. During the COVID lockdown, one in three Internet gamblers created a new online account. Add that to the fact that virtual gambling pulls in about $6 billion per year, and you’ve got a situation that desperately needs to be diminished.

Making the Announcement

The BetStop announcement was made by Nerida O’Loughlin, the chair of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

“BetStop will help those at risk of gambling harm to take control of their situation, allowing them to block themselves from all licensed online and phone wagering services in a single process.”

She added, “People who want to change their gambling habits can also start exploring whether BetStop can play a role to help them make those choices.”

The Interactive Gambling Act

Passed in 2001, the IGA makes it illegal for certain gambling services to be offered to Australian residents. These prohibited services include the following:

  • In-play Sports Betting
  • Online Casinos
  • Sports Betting Services without an Australian License
  • Betting on Lottery Results

Providers may not offer credit or promote for online gambling. Also, the above banned services may not be advertised in Australia.

In 2017, reforms were made to the IGA. The main goal was to better fight against illegal gambling services being offered from outside Australia. This resulted in over 150 sites pulling out of the Australian market, as well as an overall reduction in the amount of money lost.

Two years later, politicians once again tinkered with the existing laws. This time, the end result was the approval of a national self-exclusion register. Now, almost three years later, it’s about to become a reality.

How BetStop Will Work

Once it’s up and running, here’s how BetStop will work:

  • Any Australian will be able to self-exclude from all licensed interactive gambling services for free.
  • If a person takes part, providers will be unable to allow them to wager, open a new account or receive marketing messages.
  • All personal details will be protected.
  • Those who sign up with BetStop can choose the length of their exclusion. This can range from three months to a lifetime ban.

Gambling expert Dr Charles Livingstone

Dr Livingstone, I Presume

To date, Dr Charles Livingstone has been one of the more vocal supporters of the register. For those who don’t keep up with such things, he’s a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Group on Gambling and Gambling Disorder.

He called the register a “great step forward,” and added “Someone who’s trying to get a handle on their game is going to be assisted greatly by this.”

“People who get into trouble with gambling are often portrayed as completely out of control and irrational, but in fact they do have moments where they really regret what they’re doing and want to stop.”

In the Meantime

Until BetStop becomes active, the following are some of the options available to problem gamblers:

  • Call the National Gambling Helpline at 1800 858 858.
  • Directly approach services such as Sportsbet and Tabcorp and ask for a temporary account freeze.
  • To be excluded from licensed providers in the Northern Territory, register with the NT Racing Commission.

Additional Reading

For more Australian gambling news, please click on any of the following: