Page 3661 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.59): This bill has come about because of an unfortunate circumstance, recorded in the Canberra Times, where a Braddon bar had to get a gambling licence because it wanted to run what was colloquially known as “tranny bingo”. I think it is sensible reform. The briefing I had said there were something like 7,000 such low-risk lotteries in the ACT every year, and this will remove about 2,000 of them from government oversight and the need to apply for permits. I think we would all agree that that is a good thing.

From the government’s own explanatory statement, the change moves the system to a risk-based approach, with certain lottery activities considered low risk for gambling harm, consumer protection and criminal activity. It provides flexibility in the way the act regulates lottery activities. Amendments will allow for differentiation between large-value high-risk activities and low-risk activities such as infrequent small bingo or housie game sessions and raffles that a community group might run over a couple of months.

These seem to be appropriate reforms, and the opposition will be supporting them.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.01): The Lotteries (Approvals) Amendment Bill 2015 is a further step in the government’s red tape reduction agenda. Mr Smyth has just recalled—I never thought I would hear him use the words “tranny bingo” in this place, but he has done it—that this has arisen—

Mr Smyth: Why would you think I wouldn’t use that term, Shane? I’m shocked!

MR RATTENBURY: I did not think any of us would ever use it, Mr Smyth, but there you have it. It was a particular event that is very popular at a Braddon bar that brought this issue to light when they ran afoul of the racing and gaming commission for holding bingo nights without the necessary permit. This amendment bill is designed to address such situations, where low-risk community activities have been caught up in a broader regulatory regime.

As Minister Burch pointed out in her tabling statement, research from the ANU and the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission suggest that gambling activities are lower risk if they are infrequent or one off, are of small prize value and include lottery products, such as raffles, low-value housie, bingo and trade promotions.

The amendment bill will allow the gambling commission to determine exemptions for different lottery products and it will allow the community to conduct low-risk lotteries, such as the event we saw in Braddon or a fundraising raffle, without seeking approval for every session. The amendment bill is moving the regulation of lotteries towards a risk-based approach whereby the risks associated with any given lottery determine how much regulation applies to that lottery. I understand consumer protections for a fair lottery remain in place, and I am happy to support this bill.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (5.02), in reply: I am pleased to debate the Lotteries (Approvals) Amendment Bill 2015 today, and I thank members for their contributions.

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