Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 07, 2024


Poker Machines

In reply to the Hon. C. BONAROS ().1 November 2023).

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:

In addition to the use of facial recognition technology, a number of measures have been implemented to minimise the potential for gambling-related harm as a result of the introduction of current technology gaming machines, including:

a restriction on EFTPOS cash withdrawals to $250 per card over 24 hours

a prohibition on the use of $100 banknotes

a restriction on the use of banknotes of any value at a gaming machine if there is already $100 or more on the machine

a requirement for gaming venues to offer the payment of winnings of $500 or more by cheque or EFT.

The government will continue to monitor the implementation of emerging technologies in the form of cashless gaming that is occurring in other jurisdictions and to analyse the success of otherwise of those changes to inform any potential changes in South Australia.

Reforms introduced into South Australia in late 2019 have provided increased protections for South Australians affected by gambling harm, whilst also striking an important balance by ensuring a well-regulated and economically viable gambling industry.

While the decision to allow new technology to be introduced on gaming machines in South Australia received bipartisan support, significant amendments moved by the Labor Party whilst in opposition and subsequently passed by the parliament ensure that players are not allowed to insert more than $100 into a gaming machine at a time and a prohibition on the use of $100 banknotes.

Tasmania is currently in the process of designing, developing and implementation planning for its cashless gaming/universal pre-commitment system which is due to be implemented by December 2024.

The government, is closely monitoring the development of Tasmania's system. Any relevant findings will inform the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner's (commissioner) advice to the government about changes that could be made in South Australia.

In response to the honourable members question regarding the latest Auditor-General's Annual Report, the number of gaming machines in operation across South Australia fluctuates daily due to changes such as gaming room or venue upgrades, gaming machine licences being suspended or gaming machines undergoing maintenance and being temporarily taken out of operation while awaiting repair.

The total number of gaming machines in operation must however always be less than the total number of Gaming Machine Entitlements (GME) held by gaming operators at any point in time. The Auditor-General's report refers to 11,706 machines as being installed in the state's hotels and clubs as of 30 June 2023. In comparison, 13,657 GMEs are currently held by gaming operators.

To achieve the statutory objective of reducing the maximum permissible number of gaming machines operating statewide to 13,081 gaming machines, a further 576 entitlements remain to be cancelled through the approved trading system .The government, through the commissioner, has recently conducted targeted consultation and broader community consultation on proposals for modifying the approved trading system.

Feedback from this round of community consultation is being considered together with earlier submissions made by gaming industry stakeholders and subject to further consultation will inform the drafting of regulations, to amend the rules of the approved trading system.