Tasmania Tables New Legislation to Aid Problem Gamblers

3rd November 2009 8:35 am GMT

In an effort to further address problem gambling in the country, the Tasmanian government has this morning tabled new gambling legislation that will see the implementation of a range of measures developed in response to the findings of last year's Social and Economic Impact Study into Gambling.

Tasmania Treasurer Michael Aird said that the measures covered four broad areas and would "ensure Tasmania continues to have the best harm minimisation practices in Australia."

The new legislation enhances restrictions on access to gambling by minors as well as strengthening the gaming exclusions regime for self excluded gamblers.

The Tasmanian Gaming Commission's rule-making power will also be expanded in relation to access to cash, with a limit on payment of winnings in cash to $1,000, a prohibition on cashing winning cheques on the day they are won, and extending the current restriction of one EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) transaction per person per day in hotels and clubs to the state's two casinos.

The legislation will also establish the requirement for a mandatory industry Code of Practice, to be developed following industry consultation, which will include prohibiting the serving of food and drinks in gaming areas from 9 pm to close of business, require the display of clocks on walls, as well as the introduction of minimum lighting standards in venues.

Under the code, gambling venues will also be required to display signage including an explanation of returns to player, while setting standards for advertising of gambling products including player loyalty programs and restricting inducements that may lead to problem gambling behaviour.

Mr Aird said the measures complement those already being implemented following a Ministerial Direction given to the Gaming Commission earlier this year in July, which included problem gambler identification, the reduction of bet limits and a requirement to bank cheques within a certain time.

The new measures would also complement national action agreed at July's Ministerial Council meeting to reduce harm from gambling.

"Much of the national work program has already been introduced, or is being introduced, in Tasmania," said Mr Aird.

In relation to the recently released draft Productivity Commission Report on Gambling by the Australian government's independent research and advisory body, Mr Aird said Tasmania would be examining the draft report in more detail to assess its findings and recommendations.

"Whether the Government implements the final report's recommendations will need to be considered as part of ongoing reviews of gambling regulation at both a state level and national level (through the Ministerial Council on Gambling).

"I can say at this stage however that the Final Report will inform the scope of the next social and economic impact study into gambling which will commence in 2010."

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