Third Party Exclusion

Updated 2 July 2018

Third party exclusion allows family members and/or friends (the third party) of problem gamblers the right to apply for their loved one's exclusion from gambling venues in order to prevent an escalation of their gambling.


There is nothing new about third party exclusions. In 1998, BetSafe was the first responsible gambling program in Australia to offer third party exclusions. Clubs that joined the BetSafe Group voluntarily agreed to implement BetSafe's comprehensive program of responsible gambling measures. When BetSafe was launched there was no legislative or governmental requirement that clubs offer third party exclusions. To this day there is still no legislative requirement in NSW and many other states. BetSafe's revolutionary concept of third party exclusion shocked many in the gaming industry and some critics accused BetSafe of being "dangerously interventionist" (Productivity Commission Report, 1999, p.16.49).

Since BetSafe pioneered third party exclusions, there has been a slow acceptance of third party exclusions by other gaming venues and jurisdictions. The ACT has had a form of third party exclusion since 2002 in its Gambling and Racing Control (Code of Practice). South Australia, Tasmania and some casinos also provide third party exclusions.

How does third party exclusion work?

A family member or friend concerned for the welfare of a problem gambler or their dependants can ask a BetSafe Club to ban the problem gambler. The following process takes place:

a. Contact with the club

The family member or friend contacts the club to request that a patron be banned because of their gambling. The club will document details of the person's allegations and/or arrange for them to speak to a BetSafe counsellor.

b. The meeting

At the meeting the family member will be asked about their relationship with the gambler and why they want them banned from the club. The third party will be asked to provide supporting evidence, for example, financial records proving that the gambler's family is in financial difficulty.

c. Statutory declaration

The third party will be then asked to complete a statutory declaration confirming their request for third party exclusion and listing the reasons.

d. Decision to exclude

After consideration, BetSafe will then prepare a recommendation for the club as to whether there are sufficient facts and evidence to warrant the exclusion of the problem gambler. The club will then decide whether or not to proceed with the exclusion.

e. Contacting the problem gambler

If the club accepts the recommendation from BetSafe to exclude the problem gambler, it will then contact the problem gambler and explain that a request has been made for third party exclusion by a family member or friend. This is generally done in the form of a letter. The gambler will be given the opportunity to respond, and are able to make their submission in writing or in person to the club Board or other club representatives as to why they should not be banned. The club may make further enquiries before making a decision about banning a member.

f. Decision to exclude

If the club decides to proceed with banning the gambler, they will provide the person with written notification.

g. Ending the exclusion

After a period of time, usually more than six (6) months, the gambler can apply to have the ban lifted. They will need to provide evidence that their gambling is now under control. This may be in the form of a supporting letter from a gambling counsellor or family member. They will be required to undertake an assessment interview with BetSafe prior to the ban being lifted.

Not for everyone

BetSafe's experience is that each third party application should be treated individually. Family members are not always able to provide the evidence necessary to obtain a third party exclusion and sometimes they are reluctant to confront the problem gambler or they may be afraid of the repercussions. It is important to be fair to all parties (including the gambler) when making a decision on whether or not a person should be excluded.

Not every application is accepted, as it needs to be understood that family members may be applying to serve their own motives, rather than protecting their parents or grandparents from harm. For example, a child or grandchild may be acting to preserve their inheritance. These applications are unsuccessful as the third party is unable to demonstrate risk of harm to the gambler or their dependants.

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