Australia’s Cyber Security Regulations and Incentives Review

Australia’s Cyber Security Regulations and Incentives Review

RWA has provided its views to the Department of Home Affairs review of Australia’s cyber security regulations and incentives.

RWA noted that its members are dedicated e-commerce businesses whose platforms and operations are delivered in an end-to-end digital environment. The quantum of consumer activity across RWA members is significant on a global scale, with peak activity on individual platforms totalling over 17,000 e-commerce transactions per second.

Highlighting that Australia’s online wagering industry is heavily regulated, governed by over 17,000 pages of state and federal regulation and accountable to 26 different regulatory bodies, RWA pointed out that the National Consumer Protection Framework provides strong, nationally consistent protections for consumers of Australian interactive wagering services.

A key advantage of account-based wagering over in-venue gambling is that consumer protection tools in the online environment are binding and cannot be circumvented. With account verification measures and all consumer transactions being traceable, online wagering avoids the many pitfalls and risks of anonymous cash-based betting. While Australian-licensed WSPs deliver rigorous online consumer safety protocols and strong protections to meet anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing obligations, there remains a vulnerability arising from the ongoing operation of illegal offshore gambling websites that actively target Australians.

These illegal websites create consumer confusion and cloud the ability for consumers to differentiate between legitimate, Australian-licensed WSPs and illegal operations. While these unlicensed offshore websites are illegal, it is legal for Australians to access them and use them.

These illegal online platforms entice Australian consumers by offering products prohibited in the Australian market, such as online in-play sports betting, online pokies and online casino games. While in-play sports betting is legal and available inside a betting venue, it is prohibited for online betting, providing a competitive advantage to these illegal offshore websites and a cyber security threat for Australian consumers. Modelling by KPMG for the federal government forecast online in-play betting expenditure by Australian consumers using illegal offshore websites at $170.9 million in FY2019/20.

While consumer protection elements have been solidly advanced by regulatory measures over recent years, the cyber-security element has not been a central consideration of government reviews of illegal offshore gambling websites. Australian online wagering customers accessing illegal offshore websites remains a cyber security risk.

Information on the government cyber security review can be found here