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HAVE YOUR SAY ON IMPACTS OF 2018 GAMING MACHINE REFORMS

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HAVE YOUR SAY ON IMPACTS OF 2018 GAMING MACHINE REFORMS
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The NSW Government is seeking community feedback on impacts of its 2018 gaming machine reforms that capped machine numbers in high-risk communities and introduced a leasing scheme to encourage small venues to go “pokies-free”.
The formal evaluation of the reforms by Liquor & Gaming NSW is a chance for the public and interested stakeholders to give their views and help shape future policy directions.
The reforms were the most significant changes to NSW gambling regulation in a decade and featured:
  • Stronger harm minimisation measures: including a cap on the number of gaming machines allowed in higher-risk areas and new measures to target potential harms in more localised areas.
  • An overhaul of the Local Impact Assessment scheme that regulates the movement of gaming machines.
  • A leasing scheme for small clubs and hotels to lease, rather than sell, their Gaming Machine Entitlements (GMEs) to other clubs and hotels, allowing them to go “pokies-free” while staying economically viable.
  • Improved community engagement and consultation.
  • Clearer advice and guidelines for industry.
Executive Director Policy & Strategy for Better Regulation Division, John Tansey, said local community caps were an appropriate response to concerns that some areas were at greater risk of gambling-related harm.
“These areas were capped three years ago to ensure no additional machines could be moved into these areas, and we want to see how effective they have been in reducing gambling harms,” Mr Tansey said.
“The NSW Government is keen to hear from the community, so we are conducting a survey to help inform our evaluation. We will also be inviting venue operators with GMEs to complete a separate online survey.
The consultation will close on Friday, 10 September 2021.
To participate and give feedback visit: www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/gaming-machine

Australia

SETTING LIMITS MAKES A DIFFERENCE, BUT GAMBLERS NEED MORE PROMPTS TO OPT-IN

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SETTING LIMITS MAKES A DIFFERENCE, BUT GAMBLERS NEED MORE PROMPTS TO OPT-IN
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CQUniversity researchers have found bet limits can help keep Australia’s online gamblers out of hot water, but the majority of consumers aren’t using the money-saving mechanism. 

In a new study funded by Gambling Research Australia (GRA), experts at CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory (EGRL) found consumers are not always prompted to use the betting limit option. The new research further suggests making the scheme mandatory and capping maximum limits would strengthen harm prevention. 

Researchers surveyed more than 3,000 regular race and sports bettors and found 41 per cent had set a deposit limit, but more than half considered themselves ‘unlikely’ to set one. Those participants who set limits found them very useful, with a quarter finding the intervention prevented overspending at least once a week.

Since mid-2019, Australian online betting agencies have been required to let consumers set deposit limits for their online gambling, and to regularly prompt users about setting up or reviewing their limits. 

Lead author and CQUniversity Research Professor Nerilee Hing, said consumers had a choice of limits with some operators. Research found deposit restrictions were the most popular, followed by an overall spend limit, a single bet amount limit, and a loss limit. A limit on the time spent gambling was the least popular among participants, with just 22 per cent switching on the clock. 

“We also looked at what type of person was more likely to set limits. Of those with more serious gambling problems, 45.6 per cent were setting at least one limit,” Professor Hing said. 

“This is encouraging, however as this group benefits the most from opt-in limits, the fact that more than half aren’t taking that option suggests there’s still a need to address why people are unwilling to limit their betting.”  

Professor Hing and her team then presented participants with a series of tailored messages about bet limits and tested these in a randomised trial with more than 1,200 regular consumers. 

Across the four-week trial, limit setting increased among participants, with 32 per cent adopting at least one type of limit. Those with a severe gambling problem were significantly more likely to set a limit. 

“The study showed that prompt messages need to be consistent to allow gamblers to self-reflect. Then we see better uptake of limits,” Professor Hing said.

This research supports evaluation of the voluntary opt-out pre-commitment measure and refinements to strengthen the National Framework. A joint Commonwealth, state and territory government endeavour, the National Framework provides protections for consumers of interactive wagering services licensed in Australia, in line with international best practice. 

Gambling Research Australia (GRA) is a joint Commonwealth, state and territory program, established to develop an effective evidence base to support gambling policy and regulatory decisions. The Commonwealth has contributed half the annual funding of the GRA program. The combined funding contribution from states and territories has matched the annual funding from the Commonwealth, based on the proportion of national gambling expenditure.

Study co-authors were CQUniversity researchers Prof Matthew Browne, Dr Alex M T Russell, ProfMatthew Rockloff and Catherine Tulloch.

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Australia

LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR A NEW CASINO REGULATOR

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LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR A NEW CASINO REGULATOR
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The Bergin Inquiry’s key recommendation for a standalone casino regulator is well on its way to becoming a reality, with temporary arrangements put in place to support the new structure.

The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has announced practical interim arrangements ahead of legislative changes to establish the independent casino regulator.

In August 2021 the Government agreed to support all 19 recommendations from the Bergin Inquiry Report on the regulation of casinos in NSW and the suitability of Crown Resorts to hold a restricted gaming licence.

Work then started to redesign the regulatory structure of NSW casinos, with a view to introducing legislative changes to parliament in mid-2022.

ILGA Chairperson Philip Crawford said until legislative change is finalised, the interim arrangements will enhance the management of existing and emerging risks in the current casino regulatory environment, particularly the risks of money laundering and other financial crimes associated with casino activities.

“We need improved capacity now and that’s what these interim arrangements will provide for,” Mr Crawford said.

It is expected the arrangements will start in February 2022 and include: 

  • Functional separation of casino regulation from liquor and gaming regulation within the current casino regulator, ILGA, including some ILGA members dedicated to the consideration and determination of casino matters.
  • Changing the appointment of the current ILGA chairperson Philip Crawford from part-time to full-time to enable a stronger leadership focus and commitment to casino regulation.
  • Appointment of a new ILGA board member with anti-money laundering expertise.
  • Allocation of additional resources to relevant teams within the Department of Customer Service to better support ILGA’s exercise of its legislative functions and powers.
  • Development of a new Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Customer Service and AUSTRAC to strengthen collaboration and information sharing between the agencies.

The arrangements reinforce the ILGA’s strong commitment to ensuring casino operations in NSW are free from criminal influence, and the potential risks of harm associated with casino activities are adequately monitored and contained.

“ILGA will use the new arrangements to further enhance its ability to identify and address organised crime in casinos and to expand its cooperation with the ACIC, AUSTRAC and the NSW Police Force,” Mr Crawford said.

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Australia

Everi Agrees to Acquire Assets of Atlas Gaming

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Everi Holdings has announced that it has agreed to acquire certain strategic assets, including game development technology and intellectual property of Atlas Gaming Pty Ltd and Atlas Gaming Technologies Pty Ltd (collectively, “Atlas”), an Australia-based developer and provider of proprietary gaming content and products.

Everi expects the acquisition to close within the next 60 days. The acquisition of the Atlas assets complements Everi’s existing game development studios and portfolio of games while providing a pathway for future expansion into new international markets. In conjunction with the acquisition of these assets, Atlas development and engineering team members will join Everi. Everi will fund the acquisition from existing cash on hand.

“We are excited to welcome members of the talented and experienced Atlas team to Everi. We look forward to Atlas’ game developers and engineers bringing a global perspective that will help us execute a more robust product roadmap and support our growth strategy of delivering best-in-class content. This transaction strengthens Everi’s development capabilities and will further bolster the future expansion and differentiation of our gaming products. We expect to leverage the Atlas development team and purchased assets to provide more original content for our current customer base while creating an opportunity to further penetrate the markets Atlas has historically served, including Australia,” Dean Ehrlich, Everi’s Executive Vice President and Games Business Leader, said.

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