Australia’s problem gamblers will finally have access to a one-stop, nationwide self-exclusion beginning August 21. BetStop, is a voluntary self-exclusion list that’s been in the works for years, and will replace a patchwork of local lists.
First announced in 2018, BetStop has hit a few road bumps on its way to becoming law. That first effort was stymied when the company charged with its implementation went out of business. Lawmakers took another stab at the effort in June, 2022, which resulted in the version of BetStop that was released last week.
Players looking to self-exclude themselves from Aussie bookmakers can put themselves on the list free of charge. During the registration process, they’re given the option of setting the exclusion length anywhere from a few weeks to forever.
One of BetStop’s biggest attributes is that it covers all of the country’s licensed bookmakers. The previous system of local and state self-exclusion lists only covered about 75 percent of the country’s licensed operators. BetStop also prevents operators from sending marketing promotions to self-excluded players, a feature the previous system lacked.
Australia’s new self-exclusion list for problem gamblers is the brainchild of an anonymous gambling addict known only as “John”. John began advocating for the list after having to self-exclude from 75 separate operators in his efforts to conquer his gambling problem.
John celebrated BetStop in a recent interview with the Guardian saying, “To this day, I have been passionately campaigning for the urgent implementation of the national self-exclusion register, only to be told repeatedly ‘we are nearly there’,” said John, who has asked for his last name to be withheld. If BetStop had been operational when I first raised my hand and asked for help, I would not be living in insecure accommodation, wondering where I am going to be in 10 years’ time, and whether I’ll have a roof over my head.”
The Australian government has been exercising more oversight over the gaming industry in recent times and seems likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.