Gambling Adminstration Bill

Second Reading

The Gambling Administration Bill 2019 seeks to regulate and control gambling activities in the state and to repeal the Gambling Administration Act 1995. The Marshall Liberal government is committed to gambling laws that meet contemporary needs and community expectations while maintaining the right balance between reducing the risks and costs to the community and individuals from harm caused by gambling and the maintenance of an economically viable and sociable responsible gambling industry in South Australia.

The gambling reform measures contained within the Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Budget Measures) Act 2018 provided the critical legislative amendments to complete the first stage of the transition towards a new regulatory framework for gambling in South Australia and was consistent with the conclusions of the administrative review of gambling regulation in South Australia by retired Supreme Court judge Tim Anderson QC that there should be a single regulator responsible for all of the state's commercial gambling legislation.

These reforms essentially transferred the gambling regulatory and policy functions previously overseen by the Independent Gambling Authority to the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner and included responsibility for the supervision of commercial gambling operators across the state, powers to prescribe codes of practice and training requirements and management of the welfare barring and family protection schemes.

From these changes, we saw successful results in ensuring people can apply for and receive a barring order on the same day. Under the previous system, it would take up to 10 days to process a voluntary barring order and months to review an order to determine whether it remains in effect. Such changes will be expanded through this reform, providing for enhanced protection for problem gamblers in South Australia. As required by section 105 of the Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Budget Measures) Act 2018, the second stage of this regulatory transition has involved a review of all gambling-related legislative instruments in the state, with the aim of achieving greater uniformity and consistency in the application of regulatory requirements and processes across the state's gambling industry.

As part of this review, the government has welcomed and considered the valuable input from the state's gambling providers, help services and the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner to enable the proposal of broader amendments to the state's gambling legislation. This bill contains a number of measures to better protect the community from gambling-related harm and to align and consolidate the powers and functions of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner so that they are consistent across gambling providers.

The bill will align and consolidate various administrative matters under the act across all sectors of the gambling industry, including:

  • the commissioner's powers of inquiry and direction;
  • the commissioner's powers when conducting proceedings;
  • uniform rights for gambling providers to seek a review of a decision by the commissioner before the Licensing Court;
  • a streamlined process for the commissioner to prescribe advertising and responsible gambling codes of practice and gambling administration guidelines;
  • extending expiation fees to all gambling providers for a breach of a code of practice;
  • the appointment of persons as inspectors for the purposes of the gambling acts and providing uniform powers of inspection; and
  • simplifying and standardising the legislative powers for compliance, enforcement and disciplinary action.

Furthermore, the bill will:

  • strengthen existing harm-minimisation response measures by allowing persons at risk of harm or at risk of causing harm to a family member because of gambling to be barred for a period or an indefinite period (including from the premises of a single gambling provider or from the premises of multiple gambling providers);
  • broaden barring order provisions to allow for a barring order, whether self-imposed or enforced by the commissioner or a third party, to be initiated for any period of time and indefinitely, should the circumstances permit, and provide for a formalised revocation process and enable multivenue barring to be initiated at point of contact, whether by licensee or commissioner;
  • introduce greater deterrent measures in support of exclusion programs in response to people who may have difficulties resisting the urge to return to venues after being excluded; and
  • expand the scope of purposes for which the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund may be applied, including the facilitation of public education and information programs, providing treatment and counselling programs and undertaking gambling research; and, further, require an annual report to be provided to the Minister for Human Services on the allocation of funds from the GRF.

Due to the substantial rewriting and restructuring of the existing gambling legislation to facilitate the alignment and consolidation of all gambling administrative functions across gambling providers, on the advice of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, these reforms have been encapsulated under a new Gambling Administration Act, rather than considerable amendments being made to the existing act.

Further, while these reforms consolidate the administrative powers and functions of the commissioner under one act, being consistent with Mr Anderson's findings, each respective gambling act—being the Authorised Betting Operations Act 2002, Casino Act 1997, Gaming Machines Act 1992, Problem Gambling Family Protection Orders Act 2004, State Lotteries Act 1966 and the new proposed lotteries act 2019—will continue to retain the relevant licensing and operational aspects required of a gambling provider.

The measures contained in this bill and associated measures contained in the Statutes Amendment (Gambling Regulation) Bill 2019, being introduced shortly, and the Lotteries Bill 2019, already introduced, represent the most significant reforms to the gaming and lottery sectors in South Australia in many years, bringing South Australia in line with other states, yet increasing the scope of venues and of the commissioner to protect gamblers in a modern and efficient way.

These reforms will improve regulation for business, strengthen harm-minimisation intervention measures and standardise and reform existing regulatory requirements. Importantly, we see a shift in focus of the legislation to acknowledge the harms of those who are problem gamblers. I commend the bill to the house and seek leave to insert the explanation of clauses into Hansard without my reading it.

Leave granted.

EXPLANATION OF CLAUSES

Part 1—Preliminary

1—Short title

This clause is formal.

2—Commencement

This clause is formal.

3—Purpose and objects of Act

This clause sets out the purpose of the Act, being to consolidate various administrative and regulatory provisions relating to different forms of gambling in the State, and to confer various functions and powers on the Commissioner in connection with the administration of gambling. The clause also sets out several objects of the Act. The Commissioner and others exercising powers and functions under the Act are to have regard to the need for gambling harm minimisation in the administration of the Act.

4—Application of Act in relation to gambling Acts

It is proposed that the provisions of the proposed Act will be read together with the provisions of the Authorised Betting Operations Act 2000, the Casino Act 1997, the Gaming Machines Act 1992 and the legislation regulating lotteries and gaming in the State. This provision clarifies that the provisions of the proposed Act are to prevail in the event of any other inconsistent provision in one of these other Acts.

5—Interpretation

This clause defines terms used in the proposed Act. The following Acts are defined as gambling Acts, which are, among other matters, to be read together with the proposed Act as a single Act:

the Authorised Betting Operations Act 2000;

the Casino Act 1997;

the Gaming Machines Act 1992;

the Lotteries Act 2019;

any other Act prescribed by regulation.

In connection with the proposed Act providing for administrative matters in relation to gambling providers under a gambling Act, gambling provider is defined as each of the following:

the holder of a licence under the Authorised Betting Operations Act 2000;

an authorised interstate betting operator under the Authorised Betting Operations Act 2000;

the holder of the casino licence under the Casino Act 1997;

the holder of a licence under the Gaming Machines Act 1992;

the holder of a licence, or a person conducting a lottery under the Lotteries Act 2019.

Part 2—The Commissioner

Division 1—Functions and powers of Commissioner

6—Functions of Commissioner

This clause sets out the functions of the Commissioner.

7—Inquiries by Commissioner

This clause sets out the circumstances in which the Commissioner may conduct an inquiry for the purposes of carrying out the Commissioner's functions. It also provides that the Minister may request the Commissioner carry out an inquiry. The clause further sets out the reporting requirements once an inquiry is completed.

8—General power to obtain information

This clause makes it a condition of each licence, authorisation or exemption held under a gambling Act to provide certain information set out in the clause to the Commissioner if requested to do so in writing. It is an offence with a maximum penalty of $10,000 if a person fails to provide the required information within the time specified in the request.

9—Powers to make interim or conditional decisions and accept undertakings from parties

Subclause (1) provides that the Commissioner may grant an application under a gambling Act on an interim basis, and may specify that a condition of a licence, approval, authorisation or exemption is to be effective for a specified time, giving any necessary procedural directions in the matter. The clause further sets out various powers and procedures of the Commissioner in the event the Commissioner exercises the powers as set out in subclause (1).

10—Commissioner may give directions

This clause provides power for the Commissioner to issue directions to a gambling provider in relation to any aspect of the operations conducted by the gambling provider, and the manner in which the Commissioner must notify the gambling provider before giving directions.

Division 2—Proceedings before Commissioner

11—Conduct of proceedings

The clause provides that the Commissioner, in proceedings under a gambling Act, must act without undue formality and is not bound by the rules of evidence.

12—Powers of Commissioner

Subclause (1) sets out the powers that may be exercised by the Commissioner, including issuing a summons requiring a person to attend before the Commissioner, producing documents, equipment or items, giving evidence on oath and answering questions. It is an offence with a maximum penalty of $10,000 or imprisonment for 6 months for a person to fail to comply with a request of the Commissioner of a kind in subclause (2), or who misbehaves, wilfully insults or interrupts the proceedings of the Commissioner. Subclause (3) allows the Commissioner to order, on request, the prohibition of publication of the name of a person, an answer given by them in proceedings before the Commissioner or any document produced to the Commissioner. A maximum penalty of $10,000 applies to a person who contravenes such an order. Subclause (5) allows the Commissioner to conduct proceedings at any time and place and to adjourn proceedings.

13—Representation before Commissioner

The clause provides how a person appearing before the Commissioner may be represented.

14—Power of Commissioner to refer questions to Court

The clause provides for the Commissioner to refer certain matters for hearing and determination by the Licensing Court.

Division 3—Codes of practice

15—Codes of practice

This clause provides that the Commissioner may, by notice in the Gazette, prescribe advertising and responsible gambling codes of practice. It sets out the matters that may be provided for in the codes. The Commissioner may designate a provision of a code of practice as mandatory for the purposes of a specified provision of a gambling Act, and determine whether failure to comply with a mandatory provision is a category A, B, C or D offence or expiable offence. The codes may, by further notice in the Gazette, be varied or revoked and the Commissioner must give notice and undertake consultation before doing so. The Commissioner may, at any time, undertake a review of the codes of practice and must seek submissions on the review from the Commissioner of Police, relevant gambling providers, relevant bodies representative of gambling providers and from the public.

16—Offence of breach of mandatory provisions of codes

This clause sets out the level of penalty and expiation for each category of offence for contravening a mandatory provision of the advertising or responsible gambling code of practice.

Division 4—Gambling administration guidelines

17—Gambling administration guidelines

The clause provides that the Commissioner may, by notice in the Gazette, issue guidelines (the gambling administration guidelines) that address the following:

requirements for the approval of systems and procedures designed to prevent gambling by children;

requirements as set out in the clause in relation to cashless gaming systems and automated risk monitoring systems operated under the Casino Act 1997 and Gaming Machines Act 1992;

requirements in relation to applications for approval to the Commissioner;

any other matter relevant to operations undertaken under a gambling Act.

The clause further provides that the Commissioner must give notice before making, varying or revoking the gambling administration guidelines and undertake consultation. The gambling administration guidelines are to be made available to the public on a website maintained by the Commissioner.

Division 5—Delegation

18—Delegation

This clause provides for the manner in which the Commissioner may delegate functions and powers of the Commissioner under the proposed Act or an instrument to another person.

Part 3—Disclosure of information

19—Disclosure of information

This clause sets out limitations on the disclosure of information by the Commissioner or an authorised person obtained in the course of carrying out official functions. An authorised person is defined as a police officer, an inspector, a prescribed person, a member of the Gambling Advisory Council or a person who at any time is or has been engaged in the administration or enforcement of a gambling Act (including the former Independent Gambling Authority Act 1995).

20—Disclosure of statistical information about expenditure on gambling activities

This clause outlines the manner and circumstances in which the Commissioner may make publicly available statistical information about expenditure relating to gambling activities undertaken under a gambling Act.

21—Publication of determinations—confidential information

The clause sets out the kinds of information required to be excluded from publication of a determination published under a gambling Act.

22—Criminal intelligence

This clause makes provisions in relation to the handling of information classified by the Commissioner of Police as criminal intelligence.

Part 4—Inspectors

Division 1—Inspectors

23—Appointment of inspectors

This clause allows for the appointment of inspectors for the purposes of a gambling Act.

24—Identification of inspectors

This clause requires each inspector to have and produce identification of a kind outlined in the clause.

Division 2—Functions and powers of inspectors

25—Purpose of exercising powers of inspectors

This clause provides that inspectors may exercise their powers under the measure at any reasonable time for the purposes set out in the clause.

26—Power to enter and inspect etc

This clause sets out several powers of an inspector to enter, search and inspect premises, seize things and require persons to answer questions in the circumstances and within the limitations outlined in the clause. It also allows an inspector to be accompanied by an assistant.

27—Power to give directions in relation to gaming operations

This clause empowers an inspector to give directions to a gambling provider or an employee of the gambling provider in circumstances set out in the clause.

28—Power to enter and remain in casino premises

This clause provides that an inspector may at any time enter or remain in the casino premises to ascertain whether the operation of the casino is being properly supervised and managed, or the provisions of this measure, the casino licence and the Casino Act 1997 are being complied with.

29—Power to ask for evidence of age

This clause provides power for inspectors to ask a person in, about to enter, or in the vicinity of a place at which operations of a kind authorised under a gambling Act are conducted to produce evidence of that person's age that complies with the regulations. There is a maximum penalty of $2,500 or an expiation fee of $210 for a person who fails to comply with an inspector's request.

30—Commissioner and police officers to exercise same powers as inspectors

This clause provides that the Commissioner and police officers may exercise the same powers as inspectors.

Division 3—Miscellaneous

31—Report to Commissioner

This clause sets out the requirements for inspectors to report irregularities, deficiencies or defects in relation to various matters to the Commissioner.

32—Dealing with seized things

This clause provides that any material or thing seized by an inspector must be dealt with in accordance with the regulations. The clause further sets out the matters that may be provided for in the regulations.

33—Offence to hinder or obstruct an inspector etc

This clause sets out a number of offences in relation to a person's dealings with an inspector, with a maximum penalty of $20,000.

34—Inspectors not to gamble

This clause makes it an offence with a maximum penalty of $10,000 for an inspector to engage in gambling at the casino premises or operate a gaming machine on premises subject to a gaming machine licence or special club licence under the Gaming Machines Act 1992 without being authorised to do so by the Commissioner.

Part 5—Disciplinary action against gambling providers

35—Interpretation

This clause defines terms used in the proposed Part.

36—Cause for disciplinary action

This clause sets out the grounds on which disciplinary action may be taken against a gambling provider. It further sets out the types of disciplinary action that the Commissioner may take, and the matters that the Commissioner may have regard to, in determining whether there is cause to take disciplinary action.

37—Compliance notice

This clause provides for the Commissioner to give a compliance notice to a gambling provider specifying grounds for disciplinary action and that such action may be avoided if the provider takes action as specified in the notice within a specified time. A gambling provider who fails to do so is guilty of an offence with tiered penalties applying to specified gambling providers as set out in the clause.

38—Default notice

This clause provides for the Commissioner to give a default notice to a gambling provider specifying grounds for disciplinary action and informing the provider that disciplinary action may be avoided by payment of a specified sum not exceeding those set out in respect of the various types of gambling providers specified in the clause.

39—Disciplinary action

This clause sets out the manner in which the Commissioner may notify a gambling provider of the Commissioner's intent to take disciplinary action against them of a kind set out in the clause. The gambling provider is to be afforded an opportunity to show cause within 14 days of receiving the notice why action should not be taken against them. The clause sets out other requirements and procedures in relation to taking disciplinary action against a gambling provider. Failing to comply with a requirement, order or direction regarding the taking of disciplinary action is an offence, with a tiered penalty provision applying to specified gambling providers as set out in the clause.

40—Injunctive remedies

This clause gives the Licensing Court jurisdiction to order a person who is believed on reasonable grounds to be about to contravene or fail to comply with a provision of a gambling Act, or a condition of a licence or authorisation under a gambling Act, to refrain from the contravention or non-compliance. A person who fails to comply with an order of the Court commits a contempt of Court.

41—Punishment of contempts

The clause sets out the jurisdiction and procedure of the Court to deal with contempts. It also provides that a contempt of the Court is a summary offence punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for 6 months.

42—Effect of criminal proceedings

This clause clarifies that the Commissioner may take disciplinary action whether or not criminal proceedings have been, or are to be, taken in relation to the matters the subject of the disciplinary action and even though a penalty may have been already imposed by the Commissioner; however, the Commissioner must, in imposing a fine, take into account any fine already imposed in criminal proceedings.

Part 6—Barring orders

43—Interpretation

This clause defines terms used in the proposed Part.

44—Barring orders

The provisions in this clause replicates the provisions in section 15C of the Gambling Administration Act 1995, but updates the grounds for making barring orders. Under this clause, the Commissioner may make a barring order if there is a reasonable apprehension that the person is at risk of harm, or is at risk of causing harm to a family member of the person, because of gambling, and is satisfied that the making of the order is appropriate in the circumstances. A gambling provider may make a barring order in relation to a person if the person is behaving in a manner that indicates that the person is at risk of harm, or is at risk of causing harm to a family member of the person, because of gambling and is satisfied that the making of the order is appropriate in the circumstances. A barring order may still be made by the Commissioner or a gambling provider at the request of a person.

45—Variation or revocation of barring order

The powers to vary or revoke a barring order are the same as those currently in section 15D of the Gambling Administration Act 1995. The period for which the barring order is to remain in force where no minimum period is specified has changed from 6 months for all barring orders to 12 months for a Commissioner's barring order and 3 months in relation to all other barring orders.

46—Notice of barring order etc

The provisions in this clause replicate those in section 15E of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

47—Contravention of barring order

The provisions in this clause replicate those in section 15F of the Gambling Administration Act 1995, with minor consequential amendments.

48—Reconsideration of barring order by Commissioner

The provisions in this clause allow a person who is affected by a decision to make, or refuse to make, a barring order to apply to the Commissioner for a reconsideration of the decision. This provision streamlines and consolidates the process currently set out in sections 15G and 15H of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

49—Powers to remove etc

The provisions in this clause replicate those in section 15I of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

50—Liability

The provisions in this clause replicate those in section 15J of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

51—Delegation

The provisions in this clause replicate those in section 15K of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

52—Register

The provisions in this clause replicate those in section 15M of the Gambling Administration Act 1995 with a consequential amendment.

53—Winnings of barred person

This clause provides power for a gambling provider to withhold winnings from a person if satisfied that the person is subject to a barring order, but must obtain the person's name and address and inform them of their right to have the decision reviewed. The person may apply within 14 days of the decision to have the decision reviewed by the Commissioner, who may confirm or revoke the decision. If the Commissioner revokes the decision, the withheld winnings must be paid to the person. If the Commissioner confirms the decision the withheld winnings are forfeited to the Commissioner and must be paid into the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund established under the Gaming Machines Act 1992.

Part 7—Review

54—Right of review

This clause sets out the process and manner by which a person dissatisfied with various decisions of the Commissioner under various gambling Acts (as set out in the clause) may apply to the Licensing Court for a review of the decision. The clause further provides the powers that the Court may exercise on a review.

55—Operation of decisions pending review

The clause makes clear that a decision, order or direction of the Commissioner to which a right of review exists continues to operate despite the right of review or the commencement of review proceedings, but that the Court or the Commissioner may suspend the operation of a decision, order or direction or make another order or direction as appropriate in the circumstances.

56—Finality of Governor's decisions

The clause provides that a decision by the Governor under a gambling act is not subject to review or appeal in any court.

Part 8—Gambling Advisory Council

57—Gambling Advisory Council

This clause provides that the Gambling Advisory Council established under Part 2A of the Gambling Administration Act 1995 continues, and otherwise replicates the provisions of section 5 of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

58—Proceedings

This clause replicates the provisions in section 6 of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

59—Use of staff and facilities

This clause replicates the provisions in section 7 of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

60—Committees

This clause replicates the provisions in section 8 of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

Part 9—Miscellaneous

61—Annual report

This clause consolidates the requirements in other gambling Acts for the Commissioner to report annually to the Minister regarding the performance of the Commissioner's functions during the preceding financial year.

62—Prohibition on participation in gambling

This clause replicates with 1 technical amendment the provisions in section 16 of the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

63—False or misleading statements

The clause makes it an offence with a maximum penalty of $10,000 or imprisonment for 2 years for a person to knowingly make a false or misleading statement in response to a requirement under a gambling Act.

64—Evidence

This clause sets out evidentiary provisions consequent on provisions in the measure.

65—Service

This clause provides for the manner in which documents required to be given to a person under the measure may be given to that person.

66—Regulations

This clause provides that the Governor may make regulations for the purposes of the proposed Act.

Schedule 1—Repeal, savings and transitional provisions etc

1—Interpretation

This clause defines terms used in the Schedule.

2—Repeal

This clause repeals the Gambling Administration Act 1995.

3—Transitional and other provisions

This clause makes transitional provisions consequent on the measure.

Debate adjourned on motion of Ms Stinson.