Further reforms to help reduce gambling harm

Released 03/08/2017

The ACT Government will restrict EFTPOS cash withdrawals in clubs to reduce the impact of problem gambling in our community.

The reform package also includes support to help clubs diversify their operations and reduce their reliance on gaming revenue.

Following consultation with the clubs industry and other relevant stakeholders the reforms will restrict EFTPOS cash withdrawals in clubs to $200 per transaction, and cash withdrawals will only be permitted from a single point in the club, which must be outside the gaming area. All stages of the transaction must involve human interaction with a staff member trained in the responsible provision of gambling services.

“At the beginning of this term of government, I made it clear that gambling harm minimisation was one of my key priorities, and we understand the growing community concern around unlimited access to cash in clubs,” Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said.

“Club patrons can continue to access EFTPOS to pay for food, beverages and other club services, while limiting where and how much cash can be withdrawn per transaction. Ensuring that there is human interaction enables clubs to monitor and intervene where repeated cash withdrawals are made,” Minister Ramsay said.

The reform measure is included in the Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2017 introduced to the Assembly today. The Bill is part of the Government’s election commitments to support local small to medium clubs and reduce the impacts of problem gambling.

“The ACT Government is delivering its election commitment to support our local small and medium clubs. The Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2017 enables local small and medium community clubs and club groups to claim a 50 per cent gaming tax rebate from 1 July 2017, and to lodge and pay their tax on a quarterly, rather than monthly basis.

“The tax rebate will support reinvestment into clubs, allowing them to diversity their income streams away from gaming revenue. We are also providing a $10,000 Community Club grant, which will open later this year,” Minister Ramsay said.

“The measures in these Bills will support small and medium club in the ACT to focus on delivering community benefits, such as sporting, music, arts and the culturally diverse activities they offer,” Minister Ramsay said.

“We are also consulting with the community and working to reduce the number of electronic gaming machine authorisations in the ACT to 4000 by 1 July 2020. I will introduce legislation later this year to implement this measure.

“These new reforms follow the Government’s decision to increase the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund levy, which took effect from 1 July this year.

“The increase will mean an additional $300,000 a year to support gambling harm reduction initiatives, such as free counselling and support services for people experiencing problem gambling, their families and friends. The Bills I introduced today will contribute even further to reducing the impact of problem gambling on this community.”

- Statement ends -

Section: Gordon Ramsay, MLA | Media Releases

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