Attorney-General Announces Package To Combat Gambling

Attorney-General Announces Package To Combat Gambling

Northern Territory Attorney-General Natasha Fyles

Less Pokie Machines And Tackling Gambling Related Harm

Victor P Taffa

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Natasha Fyles today announced a package of measures to ensure that Territorians who are experiencing difficulty with their gambling behaviours can be assisted.

“This Government is taking action to promote responsible gambling and combat gambling related harms.” Attorney-General Fyles said.

“Many Territorians experience gambling related harm and every step we can take to minimise that harm is a step in the right direction.”

Northern Territory Government today announced:

  • Lowering of the cap on community gaming machines in the Territory from 1,852 to 1,734;
  • Multi-venue self-exclusion system that will soon be rolled out in Territory pubs and clubs;
  • More than $7.6 Million in Community Benefit Fund Gambling Amelioration grants including:
  • Over $3.4 Million to be paid over 5 years in support of Amity Community Services and their gambling harm minimisation and education programs;
  • Over $3.5 Million to be paid over 5 years for Somerville Community Services and their financial counselling and gambling related issues programs;
  • 3 years of funding to Holyoake in Alice Springs for their project which provides support to children impacted by gambling;
  • 3 years of funding to the Aboriginal Resource and Development Services for their Yolngu Gambling Dialogues program.

“Having a cap on the number of gaming machines in community venues is critical to a responsible gambling regime.” Attorney-General Fyles said.

“Chaotic former CLP Government failed to deliver a gambling prevalence survey and then, without consultation, dramatically increased the number of gaming machines in our community venues.”

“It was an important election commitment by the Gunner Territory Government to restore the cap on community gaming machines. When we came to Government, we delivered this immediately and today we are taking the opportunity to lower the cap.”

Multi-venue self-exclusion system, NT Gambling Care, has been approved by the Director-General of Licensing and will:

  • Provide a secure system to enable patrons to exclude from multiple venues;
  • Enable a patron to elect to exclude from a number of venues in their entirety, or parts of a venue that offer gambling activities for a minimum of 6 months (which is a longer period of time that the current minimum of three months), up to 4 years;
  • Capacity for counselling providers to input patrons they are supporting to self-exclude, thereby not requiring the patron to attend the venue;
  • Facilitate referrals to counselling providers;
  • Record when a patron attempts to breach their self-exclusion, and prompt contact with the counselling provider;
  • Has multi-lingual support information for persons seeking to self-excluded, which can be expanded to include a range of Aboriginal languages appropriate for the Northern Territory.

“NT Gambling Care is a big step in the right direction for dealing with addictive behaviours and gaming machines. The system is based on the system that has operated in all NSW clubs for the past 13 years. I commend the Territory’s pubs and clubs for taking this initiative.” Attorney-General Fyles said.

Director-General of Licensing will also establish an independent evaluation framework to look at the impact of NT Gambling Care.

As part of the package of reforms, Attorney-General Fyles also announced that pubs and clubs would now be able to consider the use of cards or ticket-in-ticket-out systems. In relation to card based gaming and ticket-in-ticket-out, the Director-General of Licensing has made the decision that from 1 July community gaming venues may choose to operate such systems, but will not be required to do so.

Abbreviations:

CLP                 Country Liberal Party

NSW               New South Wales

NT                   Northern Territory