Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (16 September) . .
businesses have for many years been the gate keeper of lotteries products within our community and have made substantial investments into their businesses and into their staff to ensure they are responsibly providing this gambling service.
Owners of outlets undergo regular extensive training at their own expense to maintain their ability to act as a lottery outlet and their staff are required to undertake refresher courses every six months. From the extensive commentary on the issue of lotteries in recent weeks it is fair to say that, in large part, the community trusts the existing network of retailers operating in this space and are keen to see the status quo maintained.
The other element that has received extensive discussion is the aspect of harm minimisation—namely, how widely should gambling products be available and for what hours should the product be available? The government has announced its intent to place a restriction on the hours of sale—namely, lottery products will not be available for sale outside of the hours of 5 am till 9 pm. However, this fails to address the issue of availability during these hours.
Currently ACT's clubs offer a self-exclusion program for people who identify themselves as having a problem with gambling. Once an individual places themselves on the self-exclusion register it becomes an offence for the person to enter the gaming premises they nominate, thus reducing the temptation to gamble. If the expansion of lotteries is allowed to occur into service stations and inevitably into supermarkets, as it has already begun to in other jurisdictions, how would an individual attempting to deal with a gambling problem be able to fill their car with petrol or but their groceries without the ever-present advertising of what next week's jackpot may be?
This bill seeks to address these issues by making a number of changes to the Lotteries Act 1964. Firstly, it introduces a definition of a "lottery operator" and a definition of a "lottery agreement"—namely, a lottery agreement means an agreement between a lottery operator and another person providing for the other person to do one or more of the following activities: sell lottery tickets; pay prizes; promote the lottery conducted by the operator; any other activity related to the lotteries conducted by the lottery operator. A lottery operator is defined as a person who conducts an approved lottery under the existing definition within the act.
The bill also seeks to define what type of individual or entity is able to enter into a lottery agreement and what the agreement must include—namely, a lottery operator may enter into a lottery agreement with a person only if the person owns and controls a small business; the agreement affects the operation of the small business; and the small business is a retail business and operates or intends to operate from a retail or commercial premises.
The lottery agreement must state the names of each party to the agreement; the address of the small business to which the agreement applies; the nature of the relationship between the parties, including the responsibilities of each party; either the period for which the agreement remains in force or that the agreement remains in force until it may be terminated; and if the agreement provides for its termination by a party to the agreement it also must include how this agreement must be ended.
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