Strengthening gambling harm reduction

Released 20/08/2018

The Government has today provided an update on reforms currently underway to reduce gambling harm in the Territory.

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the reforms foreshadow the government’s commitment to progressing an improved gambling harm reduction framework for clubs in the ACT.

"This framework is being informed by roundtables with industry, academic experts and community representatives, including those with lived experience of gambling harm,” Minister Ramsay said.

“Recent experiences – such as that of Professor Laurie Brown’s – demonstrate that significant reform is needed to ensure the Territory’s harm reduction framework is robust and fit for purpose.

“The Government will ensure stronger protections are in place to protect the community from gambling harm.

“The Government is working to progress a number of reforms that will amend the Gambling and Racing Control (Code of Practice) Regulation 2002. These reforms will be completed by December.

"The ACT Gambling and Racing Commission has written to me to outlining a number of areas where we can strengthen the consumer protection and harm minimisation framework in the ACT.

This will include improving the definition of problem gambling. The signs of gambling harm in the Code of Practice will provide less room for interpretation by club staff.

“Club staff will need to undertake better training more often, in recognition of the crucial role they play in identifying signs of harmful gambling.  Club board members will be also trained to foster a culture where gambling harm reduction and consumer protection is the priority.

“We are looking at changes to enhance the operation of self-exclusion, and a Gambling Contact Officer will need to be on-site at every club whenever the gaming machines are turned on to provide an immediate point of contact for club patrons that are impacted by gambling harm.

“I will be convening another harm minimisation roundtable at the end of September to discuss these proposed changes.

“Later this year I will bring forward changes to the enforcement mechanisms and penalties under the Gaming Machine Act 2004 to enhance the compliance framework and ensure the Gambling and Racing Commission has the tools it needs for effective enforcement.

“The Government will deliver on our commitment to implement strong gambling harm reduction measures while supporting a sustainable, diverse and vibrant club industry that continues to make a valuable contribution to the ACT community.”

- Statement ends -

Section: Gordon Ramsay, MLA | Media Releases

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