Striking the right balance in gaming regulation

New gaming laws which will be introduced to State Parliament this week aim to better protect the community from gaming related harm, while also supporting the hotel and hospitality sector, Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said today.

The new reforms include new harm minimisation measures, including initiatives proposed by key industry and non-Government stakeholders.

“This work continues our gambling reform agenda, which began last year with the appointment of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner as South Australia’s sole gambling regulator, following recommendations by Mr Tim Anderson QC in his 2016 Administrative Review of Gambling Regulation in South Australia,” Attorney-General Chapman said.

“Through these reforms, we want to strike a balance between supporting an economically viable gaming industry and meeting the broader community’s expectations around responsible and safe gaming.”

Ms Chapman said the Government intended to allow banknote acceptors to be fitted to gaming machines in clubs and hotels, as well as gaming machines and automated table game equipment operating in the Casino.

“The introduction of acceptors would bring South Australia into line with other Australian and New Zealand jurisdictions, and would be strictly regulated,” Ms Chapman said.

“The denomination of banknotes and amount of money allowed to be inserted by a player would be strictly controlled to mitigate any potential risk to problem gamblers.”

Building on reforms announced earlier this year, the Government intends to also strengthen and improve provisions involving the barring of patrons from gaming venues.

“Barring orders are an integral part of our measures to combat problem gambling and protecting the community from gambling-related harm,” Ms Chapman said.

“Under these reforms, barring orders may be made for any period or an indefinite period and be initiated for multiple gaming venues.

“In addition, any money won by a barred patron - or unclaimed winnings on gaming machines - will be forfeited and paid into the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund.

“We’re also recommending the scope of uses of the fund be expanded to include public education, treatment and counselling programs and gambling research, with an advisory council from across the sector advising on these outcomes.

“Our proposed measures would also help struggling sporting and community clubs who already hold  gaming entitlements to merge together or transfer gaming machines more easily, helping regional centres benefit from more competitive venues while reducing the number of clubs with machines."

Attorney-General Chapman said she would continue further work around how trading rounds are undertaken, and the way we can most effectively reduce the number of poker machines in South Australia.

“It’s important we have a trading system in place which assist venues to relieve themselves of gaming machines and I will work with stakeholders and the Parliament on this issue as the legislation progresses.”

Ms Chapman said the reforms would also cut red tape for licensees.

“The current Social Enquiry Impact Process is overly bureaucratic, which is why we are moving to simplify this process for both the applicant and the regulator and align it with the liquor licensing process, while maintaining the same level of scrutiny,” Ms Chapman said.

Also included in the raft of reforms:

  • a simplified and modernised Lotteries Act to better regulate fundraising lotteries and trade promotion lotteries
  • allowing gaming venues and the Adelaide Casino to operate on Christmas Day and Good Friday, consistent with liquor licensing
  • imposing a fixed number of gaming machines for South Australia.

“The South Australia hotel industry employs 26,250 people and we need to ensure the right legislative framework is in place to allow this industry to continue thriving,” Ms Chapman said.

“Given the vital role clubs play in our communities, these reforms aim to minimise red tape to support their activities and help them give back to those communities.

“Through these changes, we’re looking to maintain support for our vibrant hospitality sector, while ensuring there’s help available to those who are at risk.”

Modern liquor and gambling laws are a key priority within South Australia’s Justice Agenda, which can be found here: