Australia heightens protections as mandatory pre-verification goes live

Mandatory pre-verification for all online gambling has gone live in Australia, with every player registering for an account now set to have their age and identity verified by an operator before they can place a wager.

In a move welcomed by Responsible Wagering Australia, this change, which officially entered into force on September 29, 2023, replaced a 72-hour window that was previously in place.

The independent body welcomed the move as a much needed assist for providers in identifying and preventing underage individuals, as well as those that may have self-excluded through BetStop, from using such services.

The long-mooted launch of the BetStop national self exclusion register took place in August, as the country’s government looked to heighten protections and give those most at risk of harm the support they need.

“This measure is also an important mechanism to mitigate money laundering and terrorism financing risks,” commented Kai Cantwell, RWA CEO.

“RWA members already instantly verify more than 90 per cent of customers’ identities and ages, so this will bring the entire industry up to the standard that we already operate at.  

“RWA has been a strong supporter of pre-verification and is pleased the commonwealth government has adopted it.

“Pre-verification provides online wagering operators the ability to continue to advertise the adoption of safer gambling tools, with customers prompted to set a deposit limit upon registration.”

The RWA, which was founded in 2016, counts bet365, Betfair, Entain, Sportsbet, Pointsbet and Unibet among its members. These are able to provide an array of tools, a smattering of which have been adopted by the government as part of the National Consumer Protection Framework.

“The NCPF is expected to be evaluated shortly and we look forward to engaging in this process to ensure that consumer protections are fit-for-purpose and help Australians stay in control of their gambling behaviour,” Cantwell added.   

“Online wagering providers offer the highest level of safety to consumers, with the real-time collection of individual customer data allowing providers to intervene early when they identify unusual or concerning betting behaviour. 

“However, to effectively reduce gambling harm, regulation must be applied consistently across all forms of gambling, not just online.”