New restrictions in place for online free bets and incentives in Australia

  • Australian lawmakers put measures in place to ban sign-up incentives for online operators
  • Follows the successful implication of the Internet Gambling Amendment Bill

Last month Australian lawmakers signed a new piece of legislature that made online casinos and online games such as video poker illegal in the country.

Australia betting ban

That landmark moment has been followed by further restrictions from the Australian government effectively banning sign-up incentives – which are commonly used worldwide to attract new customers to bet with specific bookmakers.

Dissecting the changes

Sportsbet, bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes, and CrownBet, among other popular brands, are all bookmakers that are reported to likely be affected by the latest changes.

Such incentives as those that have been addressed tend to include free bets – given out, for example, when an existing customer introduces their non-customer friend to join the bookie – and free bonuses.

The country’s government has cited problem gambling as the main reason behind the registration inducement ban. This, says Alan Tudge – the Federal Human Services Minister for Australia – is because online gambling addiction appears to be three times higher than for other, land-based gambling forms.

Other new laws that will directly impact bookmakers will see that anything won from bonus bets is required to be paid out in full “without strings attached,” and also that bettors will no longer be able to opt out of offers, instead being bound to opt in.

Changing the industry for the better

Given that problem gambling is such a prominent topic of late in Australia its officials agreed, in April this year, on several new laws.

For example, a countrywide self-exclusion database was set up, the banning of bookmakers providing credit lines was set in motion, and a scheme that would send bettors so-called activity statements was rolled out.

All of these methods are already in place in some other countries, falling under the umbrella of responsible gambling guidelines.

Australia’s Internet Gambling Amendment Bill – which, among other things, bans all previously ‘legal’ online casinos and a number of games from being played online – has now come into effect.

Any online casino operator that breaches the revised laws could face a $5 million-per-day fine until the violations are rectified.

Justifying the decision to ban bookmaker incentives, Tudge has said that the law came about in order to discourage people from spending more money than they have – thus combatting problem gambling.

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