- »Queensland Cracks Down on iGaming Inducements
Queensland Cracks Down on iGaming Inducements
As Australia has struggled to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and the societal fallout from it in 2020, governments have noticed more people gambling online.
With that as a focus, Queensland seeks to ban online wagering inducements in an effort to minimize gambling harm.
Queensland House of Representatives Justice Minister and Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath announced that the Palaszczuk government proposed legislation to reduce gambling advertising. Specifically, the law would aim directly for Aussie online gambling operators.
D’Ath said, “The rate of online problem gambling is three times higher than other types of gambling, and we’re determined to drive this rate down.”
She noted that the most egregious form of advertising from online gambling operators is that offering free bonus bets. They offer bonuses for players to open new accounts, sometimes also to refer other players or revisit an old account. She claims that these offers contribute to excessive gambling at higher levels.
The bill will specifically ban offers to open new betting accounts online and to refer someone else to open an account.
Further, the government included language in the bill to prevent offers that are aimed at stopping punters from closing their accounts, such as offering a bonus to give it one more chance or place one more bet. The same restriction will apply to offers to those trying to unsubscribe from direct marketing, like text messages and/or emails. Operators may not respond to those requests with offers to receive bonuses to deposit more funds or log in to an account.
Surpassing National Law
D’Ath said that the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering tackles the ban for online wagering inducements to create a new account.
The 2018 law does, in fact, order this prohibition. It prohibits online gaming operators from “offering any credit, voucher, reward, or other benefit as an incentive to open an account or to refer another person to open an account.”
Another goal of this restriction on incentive-based marketing was to prevent operators from mandating turnover requirements to withdraw winnings. Often, online casinos and betting sites award a bonus but then require the player to gamble that bonus money a certain number of times before withdrawing any winnings.
The Palaszczuk government is going a step further by including the extra bans on inducements upon players closing their accounts or unsubscribing from direct marketing.
Months of Messages
Not even one month ago, the Queensland government released another message from D’Ath, which was done in connection with the start of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week. Queensland recognized that week from July 27 to August 2 and took the opportunity to reach out to the community.
As mentioned, the importance of minimizing gambling harm in 2020, amidst a pandemic and the fallout from it, inspired stronger messages this year than in the past.
D’Ath noted, “Many people are still dealing with the impacts of COVID0-19, such as unemployment, isolation, loneliness, anxiety or depress, which could place them at a heightened risk of gambling harm. This harm may include negative impacts on finances, health, wellbeing, work, study, or relationships.”
She also encouraged everyone to reach out for themselves or friends or family members to obtain help. “I’m asking everyone to take time this week to stop, take a breath, and reflect on their gambling.”
That week may be over, but Queensland remains focused on providing assistance. Queensland provides gambling help services to citizens to the tune of more than $6.7 million per year.
Gambling Community Benefit Fund
While Queensland wants to provide as much help for gambling problems as possible, some of the profits of gambling go to the Gambling Community Benefit Fund.
At the start of August, D’Ath announced the latest round of grants. It will distribute $14.6 million, each one between $500 and $35,000 for nonprofit organizations. This particular round will be more flexible with timing because of so many groups in flux due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many foundations have had to delay projects and/or events.
“So many organizations rely on the funding this program delivers for things ranging from the purchase of vehicles or musical and sound equipment, the construction of sporting change rooms or to hold trail running events,” said D’Ath. “They help keep Queenslanders connected in these challenging times and bring communities together.”
Queensland is currently processing Round 105 of funding, and organizations can currently apply for Round 6 via this page through August 31.
To date, the Gambling Community Benefit Fund has distributed more than $947 million.