Friday, June 18, 2021

More consultations to be held on amendment Bill to minimise gambling harm

Consultation on the NSW government’s proposed gaming machine harm minimisation laws has been extended to 11 December, 2020 to allow more time for submissions.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said that since the release of the draft Bill on 25 September, there had been significant interest in the reforms from across the community including industry and the NGO sector.

“There is substantial agreement on the objective of enhancing the current self-exclusion scheme and reducing problem gambling in gaming machine venues,” Mr Dominello said.

“The extension of public consultation provides a further opportunity for us to work with pubs and clubs and other stakeholders to find solutions, potentially using technology to meet this objective.

“I am hopeful that we can find an industry-led solution that takes into account the different size, scale and risk profile of the 3,000 pubs and clubs across our state.”

The Gaming Machines Amendment (Gambling Harm Minimisation) Bill 2020 will help registered clubs and hotels to minimise gambling harm and provide additional support to gaming machine players.

Instead of only needing to provide support when someone specifically asks for help, clubs and hotels would need to actively identify and assist gaming machine players who display problematic gambling behaviours.

The proposed changes respond to the need to support gaming machine players experiencing problems and improve the way clubs and hotels can minimise gambling harm as they continue to get back to business.

Some of the changes would include:

· Venues to have a person on duty that has completed advanced Responsible Conduct of Gambling training and will identify and respond to problematic gambling behaviours (Gambling Contact Officer);

· A new exclusion scheme in clubs and hotels, so family members can ask venues to ban someone whose problematic gambling behaviours are causing harm to themselves or others;

· Making it easier for venues to issue and enforce their own exclusion orders;

· Allowing a person to self-exclude via an online portal;

· A state-wide exclusion register, so that different exclusion schemes and individual venues can record exclusions in one place;

· Requiring that venues suspend an excluded person’s player account and membership of any player reward scheme;

· New and increased penalties;

· Whistle-blower protections for club and hotel staff who inform Liquor & Gaming NSW or the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority when a hotel or club breaks harm minimisation rules; and

· Any winnings by people who’ve been excluded or are under 18 will be forfeited to the Responsible Gambling Fund, which funds programs and initiatives to help reduce gambling harm.

 The measures proposed in the draft Bill reflect a commitment made by the Government and ClubsNSW in a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 13 October 2018. They also form part of a 2019 election commitment. 

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