The ACT Gambling and Racing Commission revealed that the number of breaches of local gambling laws has declined by 88% since 2014. At the same time, the gambling regulatory body more and more turns towards raising the society’s awareness of possible gambling-related harm rather than to monetary penalties.
The latest annual report which was rolled out by the Commission revealed that there were only 13 gambling law breaches in 2017/2018. The figure represents a 50% decline in comparison to the number of breaches in 2016/2017, and even a larger decline from the 70 and 112 gambling law breaches back in 2015/2016 and in 2014/2015, respectively. What is more, the decline in the legislation breaches’ number was found in spite of the fact that there were approximately 250 inspections at the time.
As revealed by the watchdog, its focus on raising the society’s education and awareness activities in 2017/2018 had a positive influence on the overall industry compliance, which eventually resulted in enforcement action need’s reduction over the period. According to the Commission, the current decline registered in the number of gambling law breaches, as well as the considerable reduction in the cases when formal enforcement powers had to be used, came as an evidence that the new approach used by the regulatory body had a positive impact on both the industry and the community.
Commission’s Engagement and Education Activities Rise in Number
A total of 378 engagement and 130 activities related to gambling education and awareness were run by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission during the current year, with three law enforcement actions handed out in the same period.
One of the three enforcement actions was associated with the record monetary penalty of AU$120,000 which was imposed to the Belconnen-based Raiders Club after the latter was found to have breached local poker machine legislation as it has failed to record signs of gambling addiction in the behaviour of a customer who lost over AU$200,000. After an appeal was filed by the club, the fine was later dropped. Also, a condition for donating AU$60,000 to Lifeline was set to the club.
Just skimmed the 129 page 2016-17 annual report of the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission ahead of 3 day visit to Canberra next week. Can't see any venue level loss break-downs: https://t.co/sH10dQCYIS
— Stephen Mayne (@MayneReport) June 15, 2018
According to the annual report rolled out by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission, an amount of AU$74,000 was spent by the watchdog on legal advice sought from the Solicitors’ Office of the ACT Government during the above-mentioned appeal.
Another fine of AU$5,000 was imposed on the Canberra Southern Cross Club and the Lanyon Valley Rugby Union & Amateur Sports Club each for failures to make sure that ATM withdrawal limits had been in place.
A number of other breaches have been registered over the 2017/2018, including a license condition compliance failure, a failure to pay gaming machine tax in time, a failure to show an approved poker machine statement, a couple of cases of failure to provide the required gaming machine tax return and a couple of instances of failures to pay the required amount to the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund.