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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 October 2015) . . Page.. 3698 ..

Lotteries Act such as school raffles. This is because our Lotteries Act regulates all lottery activities whereas the relevant acts in Queensland and New South Wales relate only to large-scale public lotteries, with separate legislation governing raffles, housie and bingo.

It may be considered especially strange to pass this legislation today, given that only yesterday we passed the Lotteries (Approvals) Amendment Act 2015 to exempt low-risk, low-value lotteries such as school raffles from having to apply for approval from the Gambling and Racing Commission.

Once again I thank those opposite for supporting the legislation yesterday and allowing a significant cut in red tape for schools, charities and community groups. I would say that today we should not be reimposing red tape on them. That would be the consequence of this bill in its current form.

Mr Wall’s bill therefore requires amendments in order to do three things: first, define large lotteries; second, differentiate between these and other lottery activities; and, third, make it clear that the bill is aimed at regulating formal arrangements for large public lotteries alone. It also requires amendments to ensure consumer safeguards. The bill does not introduce suitability provisions—for example, no criminal history—for retailers of lottery products. These provisions do not currently exist in the ACT since Tatts, as the licensed lottery operator, is held accountable for all legislative matters.

Both Queensland and New South Wales restrictions rely on agency arrangements. In Queensland restrictions on eligibility to act as a lottery agent are coupled with provisions about the suitability of the agent. Under Mr Wall’s bill, business type and size are the only determinants of suitability for a business to sell lottery products. Again, this is not his intention, but significant amendment is required.

The bill also seeks to address potential problem gambling harm. Mr Wall’s bill proposes that by allowing only small businesses to sell lottery products people dealing with a gambling problem can avoid having to encounter gambling products while shopping for essential goods such as petrol or food.

While I support his aim of minimising problem gambling, neither the Centre for Gambling Research at the ANU nor the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission is aware of any research that demonstrates significant risk to consumers from lottery products being sold at the same place as petrol. Even with our relatively high lottery participation rates, Canberrans spend less than half the national average amount per person on lottery products per year. In line with this, ANU research indicates only 0.6 per cent of lottery gamblers experience harm linked to problem gambling; which, I have to say, is a good thing.

The ACT has some of the nation’s most stringent harm minimisation measures in place and the government remains committed to protecting the community from harm caused by problem gambling. I recognise that while lottery products are lower risk than other gambling products, they are not a no-risk product and the continuous sales of lottery products at 24-hour petrol stations would mean an increase in the community’s exposure to gambling products.

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