The Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3) completed its first reading on 6 November 2014 and is now being considered by the Government Administration Committee. The Committee has called for submissions on the bill, which close on 30 January 2015.
The No 3 Bill proposes some important policy changes for Class 4 gambling. These include allowing for the introduction of a new venue payments system, which would be set up through new regulations. Final decisions have yet to be made on the venue payments system; however, the Government has signalled that, in principle, a commission basis is preferred. The bill would enable commission being paid to venues by removing the current prohibition on such payments in the Gambling Act 2003.
Other changes would allow the Department to draft new reporting requirements in regulations for Class 4 operators relating to their grant-making. The bill also introduces rules for net proceeds committee members to declare direct or indirect interests in those who have successfully applied for grant funding from their committee.
The conflict of interest provisions in the Gambling Act are extended. In particular, the requirement for a “condition attached” is removed, where key persons of Class 4 venues receive or seek a benefit from key persons of Class 4 operators, or where key persons of Class 4 operators offer a benefit to key persons of Class 4 venues.
Other changes would bring companies that provide management services to Class 4 operators/venues into the Gambling Act regime, so that the Department may apply greater scrutiny to these companies, including auditing if necessary. There is also an enabling power to allow the Secretary to issue licences for Class 4 operators and Class 4 venues for a period of up to three years.
Societies and any other interested parties are strongly encouraged to express their views on the bill. Submissions can be made through the Parliament’s website.