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Independent Panel Gets to Work on NSW Government’s Landmark Gaming Reforms



Independent Panel Gets to Work on NSW Government’s Landmark Gaming Reforms
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The NSW Government has welcomed the first meeting of the Independent Panel on Gaming Reform. The Independent Panel has considered elements of the upcoming cashless gaming trial, as well as matters which will inform its recommendations to the NSW Government on a gaming reform implementation roadmap.

Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris addressed the Independent Panel at their first meeting in Sydney on Monday, 14 August 2023.

Mr Harris said he was pleased the Independent Panel was considering the design and framework for the upcoming cashless gaming trial carefully and as a matter of priority, including the minimum requirements for venues and technology providers to take part.

“The Panel’s first priority is to confirm the design and regulatory settings for the expanded cashless gaming trial, to ensure it can start as soon as possible,” Mr Harris said.

“This includes deciding which venues will take part, ensuring there is an appropriate mix of hotels and clubs across metropolitan and regional areas.

“By imposing certain mandatory requirements, the Panel can ensure that the trial will have strong data security and privacy protections in place.”

The Independent Panel will also provide advice to the NSW Government on a gaming reform implementation roadmap by November 2024.

This will include making recommendations to the NSW Government on the use of the $100 million harm minimisation fund, expanding the self-exclusion register and providing for third-party exclusions, and the use of facial recognition technology to support the enhanced exclusions schemes.

The panel will also be consulted on a review of the ClubGRANTS Scheme, which is being undertaken by Liquor & Gaming NSW in consultation with The Cabinet Office and NSW Treasury. This review will be undertaken separately, but concurrent with the Panel’s work on gaming reforms.

The inaugural meeting was chaired by former NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing Commissioner Michael Foggo with Dr Ursula Stephens (former Senator for NSW, Australian Labor Party) and The Hon Niall Blair (former Deputy Leader of the NSW Nationals) comprising the Executive Committee.

Chair Michael Foggo said the NSW Government had carefully considered the composition of the Independent Panel to ensure it is well placed to provide balanced and expert advice about gaming reform.

Mr Foggo said it was clear from the outset that all panel members are passionate about gaming reform and committed to making a difference in NSW.

“The panel is set up so that a range key stakeholders and experts are represented including industry, gambling harm minimisation experts, academic experts, law enforcement and cyber security,” Mr Foggo said.

“It also has the ability to seek input from other external experts in the field and government bodies such as the NSW Crime Commission, the NSW Information and Privacy Commission and AUSTRAC.”


Advertising Ban Gives NRL the Chance to Diversify its Revenue Streams



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National Rugby League (NRL) club Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks recently announced that the exclusive naming rights to their stadium will be up for grabs at the end of the year.

The stadium is currently named after PointsBet, but the sports betting company has confirmed they will not be extending their sponsorship when it expires in December.

PointsBet and the Sharks shook hands on a six-year naming rights deal in 2019, but the government’s ban on gambling advertising has thrown a spanner into the works.

The Shark Stadium will need a new naming rights sponsor to replace PointsBet next year and the club have flung their doors wide open for interested parties to swoop in.

The federal government has been looking for ways to clamp down on gambling ads, not just in the NRL but throughout the Australian sports industry.

There are widespread concerns that most people believe betting is a natural part of sports and the excessive flaunting of gambling ads in stadiums fuels that argument.

Those concerns led the New South Wales (NSW) government to launch a ‘Reclaim the Game’ initiative designed to challenge the way sports are used to promote gambling.
The parliamentary committee has also joined the fight against gambling ads and previously called for a phased ban, especially during sporting events.

Those restrictions will affect almost all of the NRL as just three out of the 17 clubs are not sponsored by betting companies.
PointsBet Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Catterall expressed his disappointment at not being able to extend what has been a ‘fantastic partnership’ with the Sharks.

He has called on the government to implement fresh gambling advertisement regulations that allow for a safe and responsible approach, but he may not get his wish anytime soon.

The Sharks’ fierce rivals, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, will also be affected by the new regulations. They have a relationship with PointsBet as their major jersey sponsor.

PointsBet is not the only top gambling company that will take a huge hit from the advertising ban. Some of the best online betting sites in Australia also have partnerships with NRL clubs.

However, they will now be forced to pull the plug on their sponsorship, although they’re bound to retain their loyal customer base among sports bettors.


Excessive Stadium Ads Spark Government Action

Gambling is a natural phenomenon across the sports industry in Australia and every part of the world. However, the stadium ads have become overbearing.

For instance, during an Australian Football League (AFL) game in March, fans in the stadium and those watching on free-to-air television were exposed to more than 70 gambling ads before 8.00 pm.

That is a ridiculous number of ads exposed to families tuning in to enjoy their favourite sport, especially considering children are most likely to be part of the broadcast audience.

The overwhelming presence of gambling ads not only detracts from the experience of watching the game but also normalises gambling for young viewers.

The newly implemented ban aims to tackle such a needless barrage of betting ads, which also doesn’t help anyone grappling with problem gambling.

However, while the ban tackles the overwhelming gambling ads, revenues are likely to take a considerable hit. The gambling industry has been a significant financial pillar of Australian sports, showering the industry with lucrative sponsorship deals.

The NRL has benefited from their partnership with the gambling industry. Numerous clubs rely on sponsorships from betting companies to bolster their revenue.

However, with gambling ads now silenced, the immediate financial impact will be felt by many clubs that are left with a gaping hole in their budgets.

Replacing the lost income from gambling ads won’t be easy. Finding new sponsors who can match the sheer financial muscle of gambling giants will also be a major challenge.


NRL Can Forge Strong Links with Other Sectors

Australia’s gambling ads ban is an opportunity for NRL clubs to explore new revenue streams and diversify their sponsorships into other industries.

There are several routes that the NRL clubs can explore. The thriving technology sector is a lucrative option, with companies eager to tap into the passionate NRL fanbase.

Partnering with tech companies could open the door for the NRL to access a younger, tech-savvy audience.
Such an alliance may have several other benefits, including co-branded events and digital content creation. They could also leverage innovations from the tech company to improve fan engagement.

Traditional partnerships with established brands such as car manufacturers, airlines and beverage companies shouldn’t be overlooked either, as they still hold enormous value.

These sectors understand the value of sports sponsorship and the brand awareness it generates. NRL clubs can strengthen these existing relationships and explore new opportunities within the sector.

The financial services sector is another potential route the NRL can follow as it offers robust sponsorship opportunities.

Banks, insurance companies and investment firms are always looking for ways to increase their visibility, especially within the sports industry.

Aligning with these institutions could provide the NRL and its clubs with stable, long-term sponsorships and open avenues for other important benefits.

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Australia Enforces Credit Card Ban for Online Gambling



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Australia has enforced an online gambling credit card ban, meaning that players can no longer use them as a payment method.

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) and its members have been strong supporters of this measure and have worked with the Commonwealth Government and the financial services industry since 2021 to deliver this credit card ban.

Responsible Wagering Australia CEO Kai Cantwell said that this change was much needed, as Australians should only be gambling with money that they have.

“This is an important measure to protect customers, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behaviour,” Mr Cantwell said.

“It will complement the existing offering of safer gambling account management tools by RWA members.

“RWA and its members support the extension of this measure to all forms of gambling that have been exempted from the ban such as lotteries and keno.

“If consumer protection measures aren’t consistent across all forms of gambling it will incentivise vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, where they are more at risk of harm.”

RWA members provide a range of tools to ensure people can gamble safely, many of which have been adopted by the Commonwealth Government as part of the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF).

“The NCPF is expected to be evaluated shortly and we look forward to engaging in this process to ensure that consumer protection tools are fit-for-purpose and support a safe and sustainable regulated gambling environment,” Mr Cantwell said.

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Liquor & Gaming officers help venues prepare for ski season



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Liquor & Gaming NSW compliance officers have headed to the snowfields to help venues prepare for the opening of the snow season this weekend.

They will work with licensed venues around the Snowy Monaro region to help ensure visitors stay safe while relaxing when off the snow fields.

Liquor & Gaming NSW Executive Director Regulatory Operations Jane Lin said venues were sent an industry alert recently, to remind them of the need to prioritise the safe and responsible service of alcohol during the snow season.

“This pre-season visit by our inspectors aims to help venues and their staff understand their responsibilities under Responsible Service of Alcohol requirements to ensure they have a successful season while keeping their patrons safe,” she said.

“The NSW ski fields attract thousands of visitors each year, and we want to ensure that people stay safe when relaxing or partying in a licensed venue after a day on the slopes.”

Venues should ensure that:

  • alcohol is served responsibly
  • procedures are in place to prevent minors being served alcohol
  • there is an emphasis on crowd control
  • any promotions offered do not encourage the rapid consumption of alcohol or irresponsible drinking more generally.

Permitting intoxication on a licensed premises or supplying liquor to intoxicated persons or to minors are some of the most serious offences under the Liquor Act 2007, and carry penalties of up to $11,000, 12 months’ imprisonment, or both.

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