Same-day barring orders to better protect problem gamblers

Changes to the way gambling barring orders are processed are making it easier for South Australians who are either experiencing or are at risk of gambling harm.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said the state’s gambling regulator, Consumer and Business Services, has overhauled the process, ensuring people can apply for and receive a barring order on the same day.

“Under the previous system, it could take up to ten days to process a voluntary barring order and months to review an order to determine whether it remains in effect,” Ms Chapman said

“People can still be at risk over that time, which is why we have moved to make the process simpler and faster for people who feel they should not be allowed to gamble in a certain venue.

“In addition, we have also added another step to the process, whereby information relating to an individual can be referred to a support service if the individual agrees.

“These measures can make a significant difference to those who need that support.

“Since Consumer and Business Services assumed all gambling regulatory functions on December 1 last year, the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner has approved barring orders involving over 200 individuals.

“These orders restrict access to numerous gaming and gambling venues across South Australia as well as online betting services.”

The General Manager of Gaming Care - the hotel industry’s responsible gambling early intervention agency – Wally Woehlert welcomed the new approach.

“Hotel staff have always been required to process a barring request while the patron is in the venue or on the phone, so it is pleasing that the Commissioner has taken the same approach to barring requests made to his office,” he said.

“Importantly, where a licensee makes a decision to bar a patron from gambling so that they do not suffer harm, the Commissioner has reviewed these barrings swiftly and acted in the best interests of the patron.

“Venue staff are confident that should they feel that a patron who is struggling with their gambling would benefit from a barring, their concerns for the patron will be listened to and taken in to consideration during the barring review.”

Executive General Manager of Gambling Help Services with Relationships Australia South Australia, Virginia Leeuwenburg, said the changes were positive.

“Consumer and Business Services has made it easier for patrons of gambling venues to have themselves voluntarily barred,” she said.

“Previously, barrings could take up to ten days to be finalised but can now be granted over the phone or after the completion of a one-off interview with CBS staff.

“This is very helpful for those experiencing gambling harm.”

Attorney-General Chapman said Consumer and Business Services is continuing to look at other measures that can better protect and support those experiencing gambling harm.