Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 15 October 2009) . . Page.. 4525 ..
for the community by ensuring that a positive decision must be made in order for new gambling activities to be lawful in the ACT, rather than the legislature having to catch up with developments in the gambling industry.
This approach is consistent with achieving the government’s gambling policy objectives, particularly in relation to minimising criminal or unethical behaviour and reducing the impact of problem gambling. It is also consistent with the legislative approach in other jurisdictions.
The provisions in this bill have been developed following a public review of the Unlawful Games Act 1984 by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission. The commission identified that it was necessary to review the act as it has become outdated, does not address a number of current gaming issues and is unclear in some of its provisions. The commission’s review focused on the ability of the legislation, in conjunction with the Games, Wagers and Betting Houses Act 1901 and the Gaming and Betting Act 1906, to achieve the government’s gambling policy objectives.
The commission undertook a two-stage consultation process with the community, which focused on four key policy issues: how to define an unlawful game, whether public gaming tournaments such as poker—
Opposition members interjecting—
MS GALLAGHER: Mr Speaker, it is normal practice in this place for ministers to introduce bills without constant interjections.
Mrs Dunne: It depends whether they’ve got a conflict of interest or not.
MS GALLAGHER: Well, I can see we are going to continue the day as we have all week.
MR SPEAKER: Let us hear the minister in silence.
MS GALLAGHER: Three, whether private gaming should be lawful and, four, whether charitable gaming should be allowed for fund-raising purposes. After considering community and stakeholder submissions, the commission has prepared a final policy paper with recommendations for the new Unlawful Gambling Bill. This policy paper can be found on the commission’s website.
The government has accepted all of the commission’s recommendations in the drafting of this new bill. In relation to the definition of an unlawful game, the government agreed with the commission’s recommendation that there should be an updated general definition in conjunction with modifying provisions.
This approach is needed because it is not possible for a general or fundamental description of an unlawful game to capture all of the games that are intended without inadvertently capturing some common non-gambling games. It also provides a mechanism for declaring games such as those designed specifically for betting to be consistently unlawful where otherwise they may only have been captured by the general description in some circumstances. This approach is common amongst