Tasmanian Times

Media Release

Alliance welcomes National Consumer Protection Framework

The Alliance for Gambling Reform today welcomed the launch of Australia’s first National
Consumer Protection Framework for online gambling after an historic agreement between
the Commonwealth and all eight state and territory governments.
Alliance CEO Tony Mohr, who attended the launch with Federal Families and Social Services
Minister Paul Fletcher in Sydney this morning, said the framework contained a series of
worthwhile reforms which will improve industry practice and, hopefully, reduce the world
record levels of gambling harm in Australia.
“It is not easy getting nine governments to agree so we are delighted with the Federal
Government for driving these reforms and securing agreement on 10 important consumer
protection measures from all the other governments involved in gambling,” Mr Mohr said.
“The Alliance regards the national self-exclusion register, moves to restrict debt-funded
gambling and the crackdown on gambling inducements as the most important elements of
the package and we look forward to seeing all the participating governments making
legislative, regulatory and licence changes to implement the reforms in 2019.”
“These reforms will mean hundreds of thousands of Australians will be safer from an
aggressive gambling industry that is tearing lives apart and ruining Australian sports.”
Whilst poker machines are easily Australia’s biggest gambling category contributing almost
$14 billion of the record $24 billion lost in 2017-18, online gambling is the fastest growing
category with total wagering and sports gambling losses now running at more than $4
billion a year.
Alliance director Mark Zirnsak, who represents the Victorian Inter-Church Gambling
Taskforce, also attended today’s launch and said he was pleased that agreement had been
reached after a three year process which commenced in 2015 when then Social Services
Minister Scott Morrison commissioned Barry O’Farrell to investigate online gambling.
The Alliance particularly notes that Alan Tudge MP has been a tireless advocate inside
government for reforms to curb the harm inflicted on our communities by the online
gambling industry after one of his own constituents was targeted with an $80,000 loan from
an online gambling corporation and almost lost his house.
“The online gambling corporations have demonstrated they cannot be trusted to act
ethically by targeting, enticing and grooming people to lose more than they can afford,” Mr
Zirnsak said.
“The inevitable result is families being ripped apart, people losing their homes to gambling
debts and even suicides. The Commonwealth and State Governments need to implement
these reforms as quickly as is possible to rein in this harm.”
“Foreign bookmakers have been competing ferociously with Tabcorp in recent years and
have growth to the extent that this national framework will apply to 2.5 million active
accounts operated by about 1 million Australians.”
The Alliance also notes this week’s evidence before the Banking Royal Commission from
ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott flagging additional restrictions on credit card usage with gambling
companies.
“Given that that the first two measures outlined in the principles both relate to restricting
gambling companies from providing or promoting credit, surely it is time for Australia’s big
banks to step up and cease the dubious practice of allowing customers to do expensive cash
advance credit card payments directly into their online gambling accounts,” Mr Mohr said.
“If Sportsbet, Ladbrokes, Tabcorp, Beteasy and Bet365 are not allowed to lend money to
Australian gamblers then why should our Big Four banks allow hundreds of millions of
dollars to be lost each year on the credit cards they issue?”
BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS
Scott Morrison announces review by Barry O’Farrell (see terms of reference) – Sept 7, 2015
188 page O’Farrell review – December 18, 2015
Federal Government response to O’Farrell Review – April 2016
Alan Tudge secures national agreement for a Consumer Protection Code – Nov 25, 2016
National Consumer Protection Framework finally launched – November 29, 2018

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