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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2018) . . Page.. 1684 ..

Casino Canberra—development proposal

MS CHEYNE: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney-General, how does the government’s announcement on 13 April 2018 regarding the Canberra casino relate to previous legislation on the possible redevelopment of the casino?

MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Cheyne for the question. At the time the Assembly passed legislation to allow the Canberra casino licensee to have electronic gaming machines, I did foreshadow that there would be more work underway to make the legislation that governs our casino even more transparent and focused on securing benefits for Canberrans.

The focus of that legislation was to promote economic development and renewal in our city whilst also delivering robust protection against the harms of problem gambling. That legislation demonstrated that this government’s decisions about the casino and about the gaming industry as a whole are and will continue to be focused on what is best for our community.

The government’s announcement of 13 April represents the next step in creating an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability in decisions about the Canberra casino. We will do this by introducing legislation that provides for an independent panel to evaluate and to report on decisions about licensing and about redevelopment. The government’s policy will continue to be transparent and transparently focused on maximising the benefits to our whole community in our decisions about gaming.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, how will the harm minimisation framework that the government requires as part of the redevelopment benefit the ACT community?

MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Cheyne for the important supplementary question. The legislation that was passed in November sets up the core framework for the casino licensee, irrespective of who holds the licence, to acquire and to operate electronic gaming machines. That can only happen if the licensee commits to redeveloping the casino precinct and meets some of the strongest harm minimisation criteria in the country for operating electronic gaming machines.

The harm minimisation measures set in place for EGMs at the casino were based on the latest research about how to prevent gambling harm. We legislated to require the casino to introduce mandatory pre-commitments. We also legislated for a $2 per spin bet limit, which is the lowest in the country.

These new regulations will help to ensure that economic development and revitalisation in the casino precinct come forward in a way that takes the risks of gambling harm seriously. The government does not trivialise the impact of problem gambling by comparing it to chocolate addiction. Gambling-related harm has real consequences for people and for families, and we will continue to take it seriously across the community.

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