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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 460 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

code. I am told that the Gambling and Racing Commission has asked for and received legal advice on this point. This advice tells them that the code does not apply here. I have not seen that legal advice but, whether or not the consumer credit code formally applies in this case, it could surely usefully be used as a model for assessment.

The rules for establishing a client account for spread betting could use some work to bring them up to the kinds of standards we expect in other areas of credit provision. Clause 6.2.1 of the instrument says:

... the sports bookmaker must have adequate procedures for ensuring that applicants for a client account are suitable for undertaking sports spread betting.

How is "adequate" measured? What criteria do the bookmakers use to ensure that an applicant is suitable? This is where reference to the credit code or something based on it would be very useful.

What I am saying by bringing attention to this instrument is that, at a minimum, if people are going to gamble on credit, they should be subject to a proper credit assessment, with similar in standard to the one applied by the consumer credit code-and, ideally, not by the gambling provider, who, however honourable, has a conflict of interest.

A gambling provider should also not be allowed to extend a person's credit limit on the run. If people gamble on credit, surely it should be on the basis that their credit has been reasonably assessed. It is true that there are problems with banks and other financial institutions granting credit or credit extensions without applying proper assessment, but that is another issue.

The rules for granting credit are set out at clause 7. A sports bookmaker must have a credit management policy which is approved by the Gambling and Racing Commission. I know that the Gambling and Racing Commission are very professional and I do not want to in any way cast aspersions on them, but isn't credit management more a matter for the Office of Fair Trading?

My motion proposes disallowing all of this clause. I think it would be a big step forward if-whether it is the Office of Fair Trading or the Gambling and Racing Commission-the credit management policies were assessed against the consumer credit code. More links between the Office of Fair Trading and the Gambling and Racing Commission on these matters of credit would also obviously be useful.

In relation to the area of subclauses 6.7.3 (c) and (d), stop loss/stop win limits are the means of setting limits to how much can be lost on a bet as the odds and therefore potential losses change. Part B of this instrument sets out quite detailed mechanisms for setting these limits in different events. I am not going to go into them now. Clause 6.7.3 in part A allows exemptions to these limits. The grounds for exemption in subclauses (c) and (d), which I am proposing to disallow, are quite strange.

Subclause (c) says that, if you demonstrate a sound knowledge of the sports spread betting service, you do not need to have a limit set. Well, you may well have a sound knowledge but, if you have a problem with gambling, your knowledge won't help you stop yourself when you should.

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