Changes to the law: frequently asked questions

What is the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014? What does it have to do with the National Gambling Reform Act 2012?

The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (SSOLA Act) was enacted by the Parliament and contains measures to reduce duplication between Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments regarding electronic gaming machine regulation.

Schedule 1 of this Act amends the former National Gambling Reform Act 2012 (the NGR Act), and repeals both the National Gambling Reform (Related Matters) Act (No.1) 2012 and the National Gambling Reform (Related Matters) Act (No.2) 2012. The new Act is called the Gambling Measures Act 2012 (the Gambling Measures Act).

The changes mean that:

  • the position and functions of the National Gambling Regulator have been abolished, as well as the supervisory levy;
  • the requirements for the ATM withdrawal limit, dynamic warnings, and state-wide voluntary pre-commitment and mandatory pre–commitment machine capability no longer exist; and
  • a range of other related requirements such as matters for Productivity Commission review are also repealed.

The Gambling Measures Act provides a clear framework for the Australian Government to work with industry, State and Territory Governments and other stakeholders on a venue–based voluntary pre-commitment scheme and related capabilities.

The Gambling Measures Act also retains provisions relating to the establishment of the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC). The AGRC is an independent national research body responsible for pursuing a long–term national research agenda on practical ways to reduce harm from problem gambling, that can be translated into policy measures and programs.

When did the amendments take effect?

On the day the legislation received Royal Assent, 31 March 2014.

What do the amendments mean for industry?

Gaming venues and industry providers are no longer required to comply with the ATM withdrawal limit, or implement any of the former pre-commitment or dynamic warning requirements. Venues must continue to comply with all relevant State and Territory Government laws.

How is the Australian Government helping problem gamblers, given these changes?

The Gambling Measures Act implements the first stage of the Government’s national policy approach to help problem gamblers.

While the amendments return the regulatory control to the states and territories, the Australian Government recognises it has a role in developing nationally consistent minimum standards in the provision of support for problem gamblers that are administered by State and Territory Governments.

The Government understands preventative measures are needed, which are available and useful for all gamblers, and treatment options to assist those experiencing harm. This includes venue–based voluntary pre–commitment, as well as more and better targeted counselling and support services and more effective self-exclusion schemes, including for ATMs.

The Government will continue to work with industry (through the Industry Advisory Council on Gambling), State and Territory Governments, academia and the community sector to deliver real, meaningful and measurable support for problem gamblers.

Does my ATM still need to comply with a national $250 ATM withdrawal limit?

No - the previous legislative requirements have been removed. However, gaming venues still need to comply with any State or Territory Government laws.

How can I find out what limits apply in my State or Territory?

Contact the relevant gambling regulator in your State or Territory.

Do I have to remove the withdrawal limit placed on my ATM as a part of the previous legislation?

There is no requirement to comply with the limit imposed under Commonwealth legislation. Venues still need to comply with relevant State and Territory Government laws.

How do I remove the withdrawal limit on my ATM?

Venues will need to contact their ATM provider to arrange the removal of the limit. Venues still need to comply with relevant State and Territory Government laws.

My exemption has already been processed and approved. What does this mean for the ATMs at my venue now?

You no longer need an exemption as the Commonwealth laws in relation to ATMs have been repealed. You must still comply with any State and Territory Government laws. Any exemption provided by the Commonwealth under the former NGR Act will not apply to equivalent State and Territory laws.

What happens if I submitted an exemption application for the ATM withdrawal limit that has not yet been determined?

No further action is required by you. No further action will be undertaken to assess the application. The application will be stored in line with the Archives Act 1983.

What happens to all the personal information I supplied to the National Gambling Regulator as part of my application?

All information will be treated according to Australian Privacy Principles, and stored in line with the Archives Act 1983.

What if the ATM provider charged a fee for making my ATM compliant with the ATM withdrawal limit?

This is a commercial matter between the contracted parties.

Where can I find more information on the Commonwealth’s gambling related amendments?

Visit the ComLaw website.

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