Authorities calling for Better Protection for Online Gamblers
Proposed changes could mean that betting companies won’t be able to offer credit without the gamblers asking for it. The state’s Independent Gambling Authority, is wanting to amend the current Gambling Codes of Practice in order to crack down on the “shoddy” and “irresponsible” online betting companies. Those who break these new rules could be facing penalties of up to $AU100,000. The authority has said that the move is necessary as many online betting agencies are taking advantage of gamblers and end up unable to repay the credit that is offered to them.
The proposed changesThe banning of betting companies offering unsolicited credit for the purpose of gambling. To only be allowed to offer credit, after an assessment of the gambler’s ability to pbe able to repay. Betting agencies are required to swiftly process withdrawal requests from gamblers betting accounts. Spotters fees need to be disclosed. Currently there are nineteen betting companies that operate in South Australia, and the can offer credit to customers. At the present time about about 74,000 South Australians have an online betting account.
Authorities Say Online Gamblers Are Lured Into DebtGail Gago, the Business Services and Consumers Minister was not able to say how many might be affected by betting debts or problem gambling. Ms. Gago said that research shows betting agencies were making offers of credit from $AU200 to tens of thousands of dollars and no consideration is given to the circumstances of the person or their capacity to able to repay. She continued that some of the documented cases beggar belief, and include more and more credit being offered to patrons, what is more surprising is those who’s accounts are already in arrears are being offered more credit, thus making it difficult for them to withdraw their from their account when they wish to stop gambling. Nick Xenophon, the South Australian Senator has long-campaigned for the implementation of gambling reform, stated that there was a great urgency to tackle this problem. He continued that more Australian’s in particular young men, result n their lives being ruined by online gambling. By getting rid of credit betting could make a difference in terms of the level of addiction to gambling and also accelerating losses. Mr. Xenophon said that it was a national problem that would need a national approach. He continued that the needs to be Federal reform with regards to gambling. He is working on a Bill that he will introduce to Federal Parliament for the provision of real protection for those gamblers who have been damaged by online gambling. Financial Counselling, Australia, welcomed these proposals in South Australia however, they suggested that an even stronger solution would the banning of credit for gamblers altogether. The organisation is calling on Federal Government for them to introduce a national regulatory framework for online gambling, and imposing consistent rules and penalties that are great enough as a deterrent for the large corporations and stop them, breaching them. Gambling companies have been given 28 days to place their comment on the proposals and the public will have an opportunity to comment at a public hearing on the 24th November.
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