Progressing important gambling reforms

15 May 2011

The Australian Government today provided an update on its important gambling reforms ahead of the Council of Australian Governments Select Council on Gambling Reform meeting tomorrow.


The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and the Assistant Treasurer, Bill Shorten, joined with the Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie to rule out the use of fingerprints or other biometric data in the full pre-commitment scheme for poker machines.

The Australian Government would not support any jurisdiction implementing pre-commitment systems that require invasive personal data collection such as fingerprinting.

Protecting people's privacy is of the utmost importance to the Government.

The Government supports a card based pre-commitment system that is simple to use, and cost-effective. We are confident a card based system will provide adequate protection for problem gamblers, without the need for fingerprinting or other biometrics.

The Government also understands that small venues, many of them in our rural communities, have different needs that should be taken into account.

Small pubs and clubs play an important role in many rural communities – providing a place for people to get together and supporting local community and sporting groups.

We also acknowledge that in some small rural communities the only ATM in town is inside the club or pub. We will consider exemptions from the ATM limit in towns where there are no other banking facilities available.

The Commonwealth will raise at the Select Council meeting tomorrow that we want to consider options for special consideration for small venues in implementing the reforms, consistent with the recommendations of the Productivity Commission.

The Australian Government supports the introduction of a full pre-commitment scheme for poker machines starting in 2014, dynamic warning and cost of play displays and a $250 daily withdrawal limit for gaming venues, except casinos.