Fewer pokies for the NT
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Natasha Fyles has announced a package of measures to ensure that Territorians who are experiencing difficulty with their gambling behaviours can be assisted.
“This Government is taking action to promote responsible gambling and combat gambling related harms,” Ms Fyles said.
“Many Territorians experience gambling related harm and every step we can take to minimise that harm is a step in the right direction.”
The NT Government has announced:
- A lowering of the cap on community gaming machines in the Territory from 1852 to 1734;
- A multi-venue self-exclusion system that will soon be rolled out in Territory pubs and clubs;
- More than $7.6 million in Community Benefit Fund Gambling Amelioration grants including:
- Over $3.4 million to be paid over five years in support of Amity Community Services and their gambling harm minimisation and education programs;
- Over $3.5 million to be paid over five years for Somerville Community Services and their financial counselling and gambling related issues programs;
- Three years of funding to Holyoake in Alice Springs for their project which provides support to children impacted by gambling; and
- Three years of funding to the Aboriginal Resource and Development Services for their Yolngu Gambling Dialogues program.
“Having a cap on the number of gaming machines in community venues is critical to a responsible gambling regime,” Ms Fyles said.
The multi-venue self-exclusion system, NT Gambling Care, has been approved by the Director-General of Licensing and will:
- provide a secure system to enable patrons to exclude from multiple venues;
- enable a patron to elect to exclude from a number of venues in their entirety, or parts of a venue that offer gambling activities for a minimum of 6 months (which is a longer period of time that the current minimum of three months), up to 4 years;
- capacity for counselling providers to input patrons they are supporting to self-exclude, thereby not requiring the patron to attend the venue;
- facilitate referrals to counselling providers;
- record when a patron attempts to breach their self-exclusion, and prompt contact with the counselling provider; and
- has multi-lingual support information for persons seeking to self-excluded, which can be expanded to include a range of Aboriginal languages appropriate for the Northern Territory.
“NT Gambling Care is a big step in the right direction for dealing with addictive behaviours and gaming machines. The system is based on the system that has operated in all NSW clubs for the past thirteen years. I commend the Territory’s pubs and clubs for taking this initiative,” Ms Fyles said.
Director-General of Licensing will also establish an independent evaluation framework to look at the impact of NT Gambling Care.
As part of the package of reforms, Minister Fyles also announced that pubs and clubs would now be able to consider the use of cards or ticket-in-ticket-out systems. In relation to card based gaming and ticket-in-ticket-out, the Director-General of Licensing has made the decision that from July 1 community gaming venues may choose to operate such systems, but will not be required to do so.