Queensland Looking To Ban iGaming Operators From Offering Inducements
The government of Queensland, Australia has said that they plan on banning the use of inducements in the online gambling industry, in an effort to curb the negative social effects of problem gambling.
State lawmakers have introduced a bill aimed at minimizing the amount of gambling harms faced by Queensland residents.
The main target of the bill is the use of inducements, such as free bonus bets, to spur punters to bet more than they would without them.
Some of the other inducements that the State Government is looking at banning are vouchers, rewards, credits, and other benefits offered by online gambling firms.
The proposed ban meets the standards set out by the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering, signed in December 2018 by governments of the Commonwealth, State, and Territory. The framework mandates that states’ banning of inducements to entice players to open new accounts or refer others to make accounts.
The Queensland government is also considering banning the use of inducements on players who wish to close their betting accounts or choose to unsubscribe to online gambling promotional emails.
Online Gambling Believed to be Riskier
Yvette D’Ath, Queensland’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice, noted that their efforts were focused on online gambling because of its higher rate of problem gambling compared to traditional gambling. D’Ath said that the inducements offered by online gambling operators have a significant impact on the safety of online gamblers who are trying to take control of their habit.
Queensland contributes more than A$6.7 million each year to Gambling Help Services (GHS), a responsible gambling advocacy and assistance group. The funds allow for the GHS to offer a round the clock telephone hotline, face-to-face counseling, and an online counseling resource center to problem gamblers.
Aussies Enjoy iGaming
Queensland’s latest move comes on the heels of a report which showed that Australians were one of the largest contributors to surge in iGaming revenue during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent studies have also revealed that more Australians are searching for online casinos available in their country.
Traffic data collected by SEMrush showed that the number of Australians searching for terms such as “online casino Australia real money” and “online pokies” surged between the period of February and June 2020—the same period many retail gambling outlets were forced to suspend their operations.
Online gambling remains illegal in Australia. It was banned nationwide in 2017, amidst widespread criticism that banning such sites would merely push local punters toward black market sites.