I contribute to the public interest debate on gambling advertising introduced by the member for Balmain. Like most members in this House, I receive complaints about the frequency of gambling advertisements from constituents. Like all members, I make representations to the Federal communications Minister. I know the member for Balmain is well‑intentioned in bringing this motion to the House, but this debate is not about changing the law. The time to make real change would have been when the Legislative Assembly debated the Gambling Legislation Amendment (Online and Other Betting) Bill in November 2019 to amend the Betting and Racing Act 1998. As set out in the Betting and Racing Act and the Totalizer Act, New South Wales has guidelines around gambling advertising. Those Acts are enforced by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority [ILGA]. Under section 33H (2) of the Betting and Racing Act, gambling advertisements must not:
(b)depict children gambling, or
(c)be false, misleading or deceptive, or
(d) suggest that winning will be a definite outcome of participating in gambling activities, or
(e)suggest that participation in gambling activities is likely to improve a person’s financial prospects, or
(f)promote the consumption of alcohol while engaging in gambling activities, or
(g)be published otherwise than in accordance with decency, dignity and good taste and, if the gambling advertisement takes the form of a television advertisement, in accordance with the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice registered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority as in force on the day on which the gambling advertisement is published, or
(h)include any inducement to participate, or to participate frequently, in any gambling activity (including an inducement to open a betting account).
A breach of those laws attracts a maximum penalty of $110,000 for corporations and $11,000 for individuals who publish prohibited gambling advertising, including betting service providers, broadcasters, and commentators. In question time today the Minister referred to 15 prosecutions by ILGA in the past 12 months. I am of the strong view that the regulator always has more room to increase compliance and enforcement measures. It is critical that it is properly resourced. Directors and other corporate officers of betting service providers can be held liable for any breaches of the gambling advertising restrictions. A breach of the guidelines occurred last week and there were consequences. News Corp-owned Betr was issued a show cause notice by ILGA over a recent promotion.
When it comes to reforming gambling advertisement rules, employing an evidence-based approach is important. That is why the National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering is so critical. The framework is supported by the Commonwealth Government and all States and Territories. It aims to reduce the harm of online wagering to Australian consumers by establishing strong, nationally consistent minimum protections for consumers of interactive wagering services licensed in Australia. That is in line with international best practice. The framework is made up of the following minimum consumer protection measures covering prohibition of lines of credit, payday lenders, customer verification, account closures, voluntary opt-out pre‑commitment schemes, activity statements, consistent gambling messaging, staff training, and the national self‑exclusion register. As the member for Holsworthy said, New South Wales has begun work in that space, and I am pleased that is the case. I have been pleased to work with the Minister.
The Hon. Amanda Rishworth, MP, Federal Minister for Social Services, is doing a great job in further developing and working with the State governments to deliver the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering using an evidence-based approach. The national approach is the way forward to reform the gambling advertising space, and I look forward to work being completed on it. I also note that the Commonwealth is primarily responsible for gambling advertising, with State governments responsible for gambling-related inducements, rules and live odds, which the Minister outlined in question time today. He also advised the House that a review is in place, which I was unaware of. I look forward to receiving the findings of that review once it is complete. As the shadow Minister, I have already opened dialogue with other jurisdictions, including the Commonwealth Government, to discuss the national framework, including advertising. I firmly believe a national approach is the way forward and a New South Wales Labor Government next year will be at the forefront of the reforms. It is for those reasons that Labor does not support the motion.
Mr DAVID LAYZELL (Upper Hunter) (17:21): I thank the member for Balmain for raising this important topic in the House to discuss a big issue in our society. Australia is a nation known for gambling. It is said that we would gamble on two flies crawling up a wall. It is a national pastime. It is important that we look at how advertising focuses on vulnerable communities, which is what the House is discussing today. We are discussing the advertising around gambling and what can be done about it. As my colleague outlined earlier, the National Consumer Protection Framework [NCPF] continues to be rolled out, not just in New South Wales but across Australia, which is why I will move an amendment. I move that the motion be amended by omitting all words after "House" and inserting instead:
(1)The NSW Government is implementing the new National Consumer Protection Framework for online wagering which will places further restrictions on gambling advertising, and
(2)At the Commonwealth level, gambling advertising is restricted during G-rated programming, with some limited exemptions, and
(3)The frequency and content of advertising during free to air broadcasts are regulated by the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
The implementation of the NCPF for online wagering within the State places further restrictions on gambling advertising. In addition to that, the Government has been working with industry to investigate options to address gambling harm, including strengthening gaming machine exclusion measures, including digital sign-in to venues and facial recognition systems; introducing an advanced responsible conduct of gambling course; and working with ClubsNSW on its gaming code of practice. It is important to note that this Government has introduced a number of measures to date. In 2018 the New South Wales Government introduced the largest reforms to gaming machine regulation in over 10 years following extensive public consultation. The reforms included a cap on the number of gaming machines allowed in high-risk areas and new measures to target potential harms in more localised areas. The New South Wales Government was also a leading voice in the development of the National Consumer Protection Framework. Since 2012 it has introduced the strongest gambling advertising restrictions in Australia. The Government, through the Responsible Gambling Fund, is also spending $33 million in 2022‑23 to support people experiencing gambling harm, educate the community on the risks of gambling and invest in research to better understand gambling behaviour and effective responses.
I also note that this week is GambleAware Week. The theme this year is, "What's gambling costing you?" This week we emphasise the opportunity to increase the community's understanding of risky gambling behaviour, encourage gamblers to recognise when their gambling may place them at risk of harm, provide information on practical ways to keep their gambling under control, and if required, direct people to GambleAware support services. In the spirit of this year's GambleAware Week theme, it is important for members to recognise not only what this Government is doing to prevent future harm but also how we are supporting those who have already been impacted by problem gambling. The New South Wales Government has allocated $13.2 million in 2022‑23 to GambleAware services, which provide free and confidential support in locations across New South Wales. This support is provided face to face, by phone and online to anyone impacted by gambling, including gamblers and their families.
The New South Wales Government has allocated a further $1.7 million in 2022‑23 to help GambleAware providers to deliver culturally appropriate services to multicultural and Aboriginal communities across New South Wales. In 2018 Government gaming reforms to the local impact assessment scheme introduced "no‑go zones", which prevent more machines going into high-risk areas by putting a cap on all areas with the highest levels of socio-economic disadvantage. It is also worth noting that the number of gaming machines in New South Wales can only ever decrease due to forfeiture laws. These laws require that a proportion of gaming machine entitlements [GMEs] are forfeited when they are sold and transferred to another venue. For every three GMEs traded, one must be forfeited. Forfeiture commenced with the Gaming Machines Act 2001.