Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 October 2015) . . Page.. 3662 ..
The bill proposes changes to the Lotteries Act 1964 and the Gambling and Racing Control (Code of Practice) Regulation 2002. The amendments will provide immediate regulatory relief by exempting low-risk lotteries from requiring approval of the Gambling and Racing Commission. Our community will benefit from a removal of application fees and administrative processes associated with the application for low-risk lotteries. The commission currently receives more than 5,000 applications for approval every year. It is estimated that about a third of those are low-risk lotteries. The bill will mean that hundreds of schools, charitable groups and community organisations will no longer have to bear the cost and the red tape imposition for applying for approvals.
While the bill provides for a more relaxed and flexible risk-based regulation of low-risk lotteries, it does not eliminate the commission’s oversight. As with any reform in the gaming arena, consumer protection must be not compromised. I am confident that the bill achieves that objective with the appropriate proportion of powers. In addition the bill outlines integrity-based conditions under which exempt lotteries are to be conducted, and the bill’s new conditions will not require any major changes to existing practices with low-risk lotteries. The bill does, however, reaffirm that regulation of higher risk lotteries will require the commission’s approval and must comply with any approval conditions as well as the provisions in the Gambling and Racing Control (Code of Practice) Regulation 2002.
I want to thank the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety in their legislative scrutiny role for their review of the bill. I have carefully considered the committee’s comments and will not be proposing amendments based on those. I table a revised explanatory statement.
Whilst there are no amendments, I will provide comment to the Assembly about the scrutiny committee’s comments. The committee sought clarification about whether there is any adverse result where a person breaches the condition in paragraph 6A(1)(e) and conducts or advertises an exempt lottery if it is inappropriate or offensive. I can advise that a person who breaches section 6A may be committing an offence under the act, as an exempt lottery is subject to the conditions set out in that section. I would also like to highlight that although exempt lotteries do not require the commission’s approval, the commission retains oversight of the conduct of the lotteries.
The committee queried whether the limitation imposed by new paragraph 6A(1)(e) is one that is set by law and, if so, whether that limitation is reasonable. Gambling is a highly regulated area in the territory, and we make no excuse for this. The conduct and advertising of lotteries is illegal except where specifically permitted by the Lotteries Act. While new section 6A provides for specific lotteries to be exempt from approval, those lotteries are still lotteries for the purpose of the act and therefore the new requirements to operate within the scope of those limits.
The committee also commented that new paragraph 6A(1)(e) raised human rights considerations in relation to freedom of expression and queried whether there were