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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2993 ..


Debate resumed from 22 August 1999, on motion by Mr Humphries:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR QUINLAN (4.22): Mr Speaker, the Opposition does not have any great problem with this Bill. It is generally a tidy-up of provisions relating to gambling and gambling venues in the ACT, including the suitability of casino licensees, control over the sale of the casino, disciplinary action that might be taken, ranging from censure to cancellation of a licence, the grounds for disciplinary action, directions to the casino on operations in terms of layout and maintenance so that we do not have a total dive in the ACT, times of operation and the exclusion of people. It also relates to the provision of gaming machines and changes governing approved suppliers, technicians and attendants. The good news for the Government is that, as a function of this legislation, they get to keep unclaimed jackpots.

Mr Smyth: It is good news for the community.

MR QUINLAN: It is good news for the Government, as I said. It also embraces some necessary provisions for interactive gambling. While I am on my feet, I am aware that Ms Tucker intends to move some amendments which effectively relate to one of the provisions about disciplinary action and adherence to codes of practice which have already been debated and approved within this Assembly in relation to previous gambling legislation in the last sitting. I give notice that we have no problem with those amendments either. So, basically, we are nice guys all round. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

MS TUCKER (4.24): The Greens are also supporting this legislation. It is relatively straightforward. It tightens up some of the conditions for the casino and gaming machine and internet gambling licences. These conditions seem appropriate, given the nature of gambling industries and the need for strong regulatory controls on how each industry conducts its business.

I support the new disciplinary powers of the commission proposed for the Casino Control Act and the Gaming Machine Act. These new provisions are an improvement on the old all or nothing disciplinary provisions. Under the old regime, regulators had a limited range of tools with which to discipline gambling licensees. They could either suspend or cancel a licence, depending on the extent of the licence breach. Under the Government's proposed amendments, the commission has a greater spread of tools to discipline licensees, ranging from the issuing of censures, varying licence conditions and fines to full-blown licence cancellation, depending on the seriousness of a licence breach.

This leads me to the amendments I am proposing today. My amendments to the Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill flow directly from the functions and responsibilities of the newly established Gambling and Racing Control Commission. As members will recall, the new Gambling and Racing Control Act requires the Gambling and Racing Control Commission to perform its function "in a way that best promotes the public interest", including, as far as practicable, promoting consumer protection, minimising the risks and costs to the community and to individuals of problem gambling.

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