Tuesday 27. December, 2016

South Australia to Review State Gambling Laws

The South Australian government has announced plans to conduct a review into gambling laws in the state, in an effort to strengthen the waning hotel and club industry.

The review will be undertaken on behalf of the South Australian government by former Supreme Court Justice Tim Anderson, following Mr Anderson’s review of liquor laws in the state, which, in July, recommended an independent review of the state’s gambling laws.

In particular, the report stated that the relationship between liquor and gambling legislation was “not always complimentary of each other,” resulting in the need for a gambling review.

The wide ranging review will cover all areas of gambling, including pokies, casino-style games and betting. The industry is hoping that the review will lead to a reduction of red tape which has prevented new gaming licenses from being issued in the last five years. The current situation has led to a number of existing businesses from leaving the industry and has prevented new businesses from opening.

There are currently around 6,400 licensed premises in South Australia, with 530 holding operational gaming machine licenses. The Advertiser revealed last month that poker machine spending in the state is at its lowest level since 2003; however, rather than indicating a reduction in problem gambling, this indicates a rise in online gambling, which is hurting the local land-based industry.

Ian Horne, Australian Hotels Association SA general manager, said the industry has suffered a deterioration due to the outdated laws.

“There are potential reforms in the gaming space that can work to strengthen the industry while also improving responsible gaming outcomes,” he stated.

“Further inaction will only result in the further deterioration of the hotels and clubs industries (which is) a dangerous prospect at a time when our state cannot afford to forego any economic opportunity.”


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