Australian Gambling Authorities: Support, Research Groups and Regulators

Sarah Mitchell

There are several key organisations in Australia responsible for overseeing, regulating, and guiding the online gambling industry.

Each has slightly differing roles, but generally, they all work together to provide a safe online environment for players.

Understanding the role of each organisation, their responsibilities and what they offer for players can be helpful if you’re new to the world of online gambling.

Let’s take a look at each of these organisations in more detail. So you can better understand how they work and their role in creating a safe and fair gambling environment for players.

Role of Gambling Organisations and Industry Groups

There are many gambling-related organisations in Australia, and their roles vary. But almost all focus on responsible gambling and helping protect Australian players from the risks of gambling harm.

Some focus more on research and driving policy change, while others offer ongoing counselling support for anyone who needs it.

There are also state-based regulatory organisations who oversee casinos in their area to ensure they comply with local laws.

Based on our research (and experience), here are some of the main organisations associated with the online gaming and casino industry in Australia.

Alliance for Gambling Reform

The Alliance for Gambling Reform (ARG) is a national advocacy group that’s dedicated to preventing and minimizing gambling-related harm.

Operating as a registered health promotion charity, it’s solely funded by donations and has no ties to the gambling industry. It’s also completely independent from any political parties to ensure it remains objective regarding gambling in Australia.

The group has advocated for significant reforms in the industry, including reducing gambling advertisements and stricter regulations on gambling products. Their focus is on raising awareness about gambling harm. And pushing for policy changes that help to protect vulnerable people, especially children and individuals who are more susceptible to addiction.

The Alliance is supported by over 60 organisations and 23 leadership local councils throughout Victoria. The leadership team includes Chief Advocate Reverend Tim Costello and CEO Carol BennettARG - Our Team
https://www.agr.org.au/team #
.

Some of their work includes advocating for:

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is Australia’s primary regulatory body for gambling. The group oversees various aspects of communication and media, including broadcasting, telecommunications, and the Internet.

ACMA enforces the Interactive Gambling ActACMA - Interactive Gambling Act
https://www.acma.gov.au/about-interactive-gambling-act #
, which prohibits the provision of certain interactive gambling services. The Act aims to ensure that online gambling services operate legally and ethically.

Some of their tasks include:

Their regulatory activities help to protect players from playing at unregulated sites and reduce exposure to harmful gambling practices. They also work alongside other regulatory bodies to enhance the effectiveness of gambling regulations.

Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC)

The Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) is part of the Australian Institute of Family Studies. It researches gambling behaviours and impacts nationwide.

The AGRC aims to provide high-quality, evidence-based research that informs policy and practice in the gambling sector. The research covers various aspects of gambling, including its prevalence, its social and economic impacts, and strategies to help reduce gambling harm.

The centre was established under the Commonwealth Gambling Measures Act 2012 and launched in 2013.

Some of the topics of research include:

The AGRC also looks at community attitudes towards gambling and the effectiveness of harm reduction measures such as self-exclusion programs and pre-commitment systems. Their research plays an important role in shaping national gambling policies.

Gambler’s Anonymous Australia

Gambler’s Anonymous Australia (GAA) is a group of individuals who share their experiences with others to help players recover from gambling addiction.

On the group’s website, you can find information about regular meetings, where members can share their stories and offer each other support to help maintain their recovery.

GA emphasises anonymity to create a safe and supportive environment for anyone seeking help.

Gambler’s Help

Gambler’s Help is a service offering support and counselling for anyone affected by gambling.

They provide free, confidential assistance via various channels, including phone, chat, and face-to-face counselling. The group also offers resources for family and friends of those struggling with gambling issues. These resources help them to understand and manage the impacts of problem gambling.

Other support they provide includes:

Gambling Help Online

Gambling Help Online provides comprehensive support and counselling services for anyone struggling with gambling addiction.

Their services are available 24/7. Players can access confidential assistance via phone, chat, and email. Their counsellors specialise in helping people regain control over their gambling habits and mitigate gambling-related harms. They offer personalised strategies and practical advice tailored to each person’s situation. In addition to immediate support, they also offer long-term counselling that helps to promote recovery from gambling addiction.

They also offer a range of online resources for self-help and educational materials that increase awareness about the risks of gambling.

Some areas of speciality include:

Gambling Research Australia (GRA)

Gambling Research Australia (GRA) is a collaborative initiative between the federal, state, and territory governments.

The research group funds and shares research findings about gambling behaviour and its social and economic impacts. It also investigates the overall effectiveness of harm-minimisation measures.

Their work helps inform policy decisions and the development of responsible gambling strategies.

Some key areas of research include:

GRA’s work ensures that policymakers have access to the latest data and insights, allowing them to make informed decisions that benefit the community.

National Association for Gambling Studies (NAGS)

The National Association for Gambling Studies (NAGS) is Australia’s leading forum for research and discussion on gambling-related issues. It’s dedicated to promoting research and dialogue on gambling and related issues across Australia. It was founded to promote, conduct, commission, and develop opportunities for gambling research.

NAGS brings together members from various sectors, including industry professionals, treatment agencies, academics, regulators, and gamblers. They aim to facilitate open and respectful dialogue, share knowledge and better understand gambling and its impacts.

This not-for-profit, self-funding organisation has no opinions or biases in the gambling debate. However, individual members represent a diverse range of views.

Key objectives include:

NAGS also examines ways to improve the public’s knowledge and understanding of gambling issues within the community.

National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF)

The National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF) is an agreement between the federal, state, and territory governments to implement consistent consumer protection measures for online gambling.

The framework includes ten standards that cover aspects like ID verification, account closure, and responsible gambling messages. In addition to protecting consumers, it aims to promote responsible gambling practices.

It was developed in response to the 2015 Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering, which recommended robust protections to minimise harm from online gamblingDepartment of Social Services - Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering
https://www.dss.gov.au/communities-and-vulnerable-people/programmes-services/gambling/review-of-illegal-offshore-wagering #
.

The measures included in the NCPF that set the standard for consumer protection in online wagering include:

  1. Online wagering providers are prohibited from offering customers lines of credit.
  2. ID verification must be completed before customers can place bets.
  3. Establishment of a National Self-Exclusion Register (BetStop), which lets players exclude themselves from all licensed online wagering services in Australia.
  4. Consistent messaging across platforms to promote responsible gambling practices.
  5. Wagering providers must provide easily accessible activity statements to help consumers track betting behaviour.
  6. Limits on the types of promotions and sign-up offers for new and existing customers.
  7. Ensure customers can easily close their wagering accounts.
  8. Providers must offer voluntary opt-out pre-commitment options for deposit limits.
  9. Mandatory responsible gambling training for staff involved in online wagering services.
  10. Prohibiting payday lending services to fund betting accounts.

The framework aims to create a safer gambling environment for all players by setting standards and reducing the risk of gambling-related harm.

Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF)

The Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF) funds initiatives to prevent and reduce gambling-related harm.

Its projects promote responsible gambling practices and offer support for those affected by problem gambling.

The RGF is administered by the Office of Responsible Gambling under Liquor & Gaming NSW and funded through contributions mandated by the Casino Control Act 1992. This Act requires NSW casino operators to pay a 2% responsible gambling levy on gross gaming revenue.

Other contributions also come from community benefit payments and gaming machine lease levy payments from clubs and hotels. Along with taxes on wagering expenditures under the Betting Tax Act 2001​NSW Government - Betting Tax Act 2001
https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/whole/html/inforce/current/act-2001-043#:~:text=An%20Act%20to%20provide%20for,the%20Betting%20Tax%20Act%202001.&text=This%20Act%20commences%20on%201%20July%202001. #
.

The fund is responsible for:

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF)

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF) is an independent statutory authority established by the Victorian Parliament.

Its mission is to reduce the prevalence and severity of gambling-related harm in Victoria.

The foundation adopts a public health approach to tackle gambling issues. It focuses on prevention, early intervention, and support for anyone impacted by gambling harm. It funds research and community programs throughout the state.

Other services include education and support services for anyone affected by gambling. It funds counselling services through programs like Gambler’s Help. It also runs community-based programs to raise awareness and educate the public about gambling risks.

Its Love the Game program collaborates with local sporting clubs to reduce young people’s exposure to sports betting promotions and disrupt the normalisation of betting. This program educates young athletes about the risks of gambling and promotes healthier attitudes towards sports participation without the influence of betting.

Activities of VRGF include:

State and Territory Regulators

In Australia, gambling is regulated at the state/territory and federal levelsGlobal Legal Group - Gambling Laws and Regulations
https://iclg.com/practice-areas/gambling-laws-and-regulations/australia#:~:text=Instead%2C%20gambling%20in%20Australia%20is,each%20of%20their%20respective%20jurisdictions. #
.

While no Australian online casinos hold an Australian licence (because Australian companies are forbidden from operating online casinos), all states and territories are responsible for regulating gambling activities within their jurisdictionsAustralian Government - Interactive Gambling Act
https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/media-communications-arts/internet/interactive-gambling#:~:text=The%20Interactive%20Gambling%20Act%202001,'%2C%20to%20someone%20in%20Australia. #
.

This includes sports betting sites and physical casinos. Each state and territory also has slightly differing laws regarding gambling.

Let’s take a closer look.

ACT Gambling and Racing Commission (Australian Capital Territory)

The ACT Gambling and Racing Commission regulates all gambling activities within the Australian Capital Territory. This includes overseeing gaming machines, lotteries, sports betting, and online gambling.

The Commission helps to ensure activities are conducted fairly and transparently to protect players. It also promotes responsible gambling measures and delivers public education programs.

NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (New South Wales)

The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing regulates liquor, gaming, racing, and charity fundraising activities in New South Wales.

Its responsibilities include issuing licences, ensuring compliance with gambling laws, and promoting responsible gambling practices. It also provides support and resources for anyone affected by gambling-related issues.

NT Racing Commission (Northern Territory)

The NT Racing Commission oversees all aspects of racing and wagering in the Northern Territory, including regulating online sports betting operators licensed in the NT.

The Commission ensures these operators comply with local laws and regulations. It also addresses any disputes or complaints related to gambling activities to help protect consumers’ interests.

QLD Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (Queensland)

The QLD Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation manages the licensing and regulation of liquor and gaming in Queensland. This includes monitoring online gambling operations to ensure compliance with state laws.

The Office promotes responsible gambling and ensures gambling activities contribute positively to the Queensland community. It also conducts investigations and enforcement actions against any illegal gambling activities.

SA Independent Gambling Authority (South Australia)

The SA Independent Gambling Authority oversees gambling activities in South Australia. It regulates the conduct of gaming, betting, and lotteries, including online gambling services.

The authority focuses on protecting consumers and ensuring the integrity of gambling operations. It also helps to minimise any adverse effects of gambling and promotes responsible gambling. It runs various initiatives and educational programs throughout South Australia.

TAS Department of Treasury and Finance (Tasmania)

The TAS Department of Treasury and Finance oversees gambling regulation in Tasmania through its Liquor and Gaming Branch. The Department is responsible for licensing, compliance, and enforcing gambling laws.

It ensures gambling operators operate legally in Tasmania, adhering to standards of fairness and transparency. The Department also implements measures to protect consumers and promote responsible gambling.

VIC Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (Victoria)

The VIC Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is the independent statutory authority regulating gambling in Victoria. The VCGLR oversees all forms of gambling, to ensure compliance with legislation and promotes responsible gambling.

The Commission’s role includes licensing, monitoring, and enforcement activities, as well as educating the general public about the risks of gambling.

WA Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor (Western Australia)

The WA Department of Racing, Gaming, and Liquor regulates and controls the gambling industry in Western Australia. This includes licensing and monitoring casinos, gaming machines, and online gambling services.

The Department is dedicated to ensuring that gambling activities are conducted fairly and responsibly, protecting consumers from gambling-related harms.

Australian Gambling Authorities FAQ

What is the role of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in regulating online gambling?

ACMA enforces the Interactive Gambling Act, blocks illegal offshore gambling websites, ensures compliance with local laws, oversees consumer protection, and promotes safer gambling environments.

How does the Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR) contribute to reducing gambling harm?

AGR advocates for reducing gambling harm through policy changes, raising awareness, and promoting stricter regulations on gambling advertisements and products.

What services does Gambler’s Help provide for those affected by gambling?

Gambler's Help offers free, confidential counselling, financial advice, support for families, and educational programs to help individuals affected by gambling.

What is the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF) for online gambling?

NCPF sets standards for online gambling, including ID verification, self-exclusion, responsible gambling messages, and limits on promotions to protect consumers.

What research does the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) conduct?

AGRC researches gambling trends, behaviours, harms, advertising impacts, and demographic prevalence to inform policy and reduce gambling harm.

Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell
Editor in Chief
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Sarah is our Editor-in-Chief. She brings a decade of experience and is passionate about all things iGaming, keeping readers up to date with the latest news, trends and innovation in the industry.

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