Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


Poker Machines

In reply to the Hon. F. PANGALLO ().17 November 2022).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): The Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs has advised:

The Malinauskas government is committed to reducing the prevalence and severity of potential harm caused by gambling.

The reforms introduced in South Australia in late 2019 have provided increased protections for South Australians affected by gambling harm.

While the decision to allow technologically advanced gaming machines with bank note acceptors to be introduced in South Australia received bipartisan support from Labor when it was in opposition, it was on a condition that amendments moved by Labor were passed by the parliament to ensure that players are not allowed to insert more than $100 into a gaming machine at a time and are prohibited from using $100 banknotes.

In comparison, older generation coin operated gaming machines in South Australia have typically allowed up to $2,000 to be inserted at a time, while in New South Wales for example, the use of $100 notes is permitted and up to $5,000 in banknotes (down from $7,500) can be inserted at a time.

In addition, the reforms resulted in a number of further regulatory based harm minimisation measures (some of which are unique to South Australia and now being replicated in other jurisdictions) to mitigate the potential harm from playing gaming machines, including:

Allowing persons at risk of harm, or at risk of causing harm to a family member, because of gambling, to be barred for any period or an indefinite period (including from the premises of a single gambling provider or from the premises of multiple gambling providers)

Greater deterrent measures in support of exclusion programs in response to people who may have difficulties resisting the urge to return to venues after being excluded

Statewide automated risk monitoring of each session of play on a gaming machine, enabling gaming staff to be alerted if potential harmful behaviour is detected

In an Australian-first, mandating the operation of facial recognition technology to enable gaming staff to identify persons who have undertaken to be self-barred from the gaming area of licensed premises

Complementing the transaction restrictions when using ATMs, limiting access to cash from EFTPOS on licensed premises with gaming machines to a maximum of $250 per card over a 24-hour period

Extending the prohibition on television gambling advertising to 6am to 8.30am and 4pm to 7.30pm on any day, and

Prohibition of gambling advertising at cinemas when films rated G, PG, M or MA (15+) are showing.

Additionally, the Gambling Regulation Strategic Plan, recently released by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner, details a clear path towards ensuring measures are in place to minimise the harmful impact of gambling in South Australia over the next three years, while maintaining a gambling industry that is able to continue to operate in a responsible manner.

The Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund (GRF), which is funded from voluntary and prescribed contributions from government and industry and administered by the Office for Problem Gambling through the Department of Human Services (DHS), also remains a core feature of the government's gambling harm prevention strategy.

The DHS has also prepared a Gambling Harm Minimisation Investment Plan 2021 to 2026, which describes clear goals for future investment, prioritises strategic areas of focus, and identifies evidence-based, practice informed opportunities to minimise gambling harm.

The increase in gambling revenue is not unique to South Australia, but is in fact a trend that has been seen nationwide.