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The Department of Internal Affairs

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Resource material › Regulatory Impact Statements › Gambling Amendment Bill (No. 2)

April 2008

Regulatory Impact and Compliance Cost Statement

Statement of the nature and magnitude of the problem and the need for government action

The Gambling Act 2003 came fully into force on 1 July 2004. As is usual with a new Act of the size and complexity of the Gambling Act, a number of issues have been identified by the Department of Internal Affairs as it has implemented the Act. These include: drafting issues; implementation issues which prevent some provisions from working as intended; and areas where minor policy enhancements are needed to assist in achieving the Act’s original policy objectives. On 27 February 2006, Cabinet agreed, following reference from the Cabinet Legislation Committee, that a Gambling Amendment Bill be included in the 2006 Legislation Programme as Category 4: to proceed to a select committee in 2006 [CAB Min (06) 6/1A].

It is not possible to assess the magnitude of the problem both because there has not been sufficient time since the Act was passed for a body of evidence to develop, and because some of the issues are risks. The issues are:

Drafting issues
  1. sales promotions that require payment of a communication cost to enter a competition (eg cost of a postage stamp or text message) in addition to purchasing the good or service being promoted are likely to be unlawful.
  2. the power to prohibit certain property as a gambling prize via regulations does not cater for situations where it might be appropriate to prohibit services, particular quantities of a prize, or to define circumstances in which a particular prize may or may not be offered.
  3. a Cabinet decision during the Gaming Review that grant recipients should be subject to an offence if they misuse grant money was not included in the Act.
Implementation issues
  1. The Gambling Commission has limited operational flexibility in terms of determining when it sits as a division instead of as the full Commission; and the requirement for the Chief Commissioner to always be part of a division causes difficulties if that commissioner has an apparent conflict of interest in a given case.
  2. the Secretary’s inability to lawfully contract with more than one entity to operate an electronic monitoring system (EMS) for non-casino gaming machines could lead to practical difficulties in transferring between monitors and/or systems when a contract ends.
  3. it would be difficult for class 4 (gaming machine) venues and casinos to meet their statutory requirements to exclude problem gamblers on request, and to ensure they do not re-enter the premises, if the person being excluded does not provide sufficient information about themselves to enable them to be identified.
  4. it is difficult for the Department to monitor the effectiveness of the problem gambler exclusion provisions in class 4 venues because, unlike casinos, class 4 operators are not required to keep records of exclusions and provide them on request.
  5. the Gambling Commission has decided that the Act does not prevent gaming machine societies from applying some gaming machine proceeds to their own purposes, even if they are set up to distribute the proceeds by way of grants. This has revealed that the Act does not reflect the policy intention to continue requirements under the previous legislation (whereby societies set up to make grants were required to distribute all the money and could not apply any money to their own purposes).
  6. there is an inconsistency between the two situations in which clubs can receive ministerial approval to operate more than the statutory maximum of gaming machines (18 or 9), in terms of the number of machines (if any) permitted at each club’s previous venue if another society later operates there.
  7. there is a risk that inconsistencies and gaps in the provisions requiring class 4 venues to bank the gaming machine proceeds into the society’s account will allow those provisions to be undermined eg some venues use the money for their own commercial purposes before they bank it in accordance with the 5 working day banking deadline imposed by regulations.
  8. the EMS contractor’s lack of immunity from compensation claims by gambling operators (eg if there is a fault in the system that leads to gambling equipment ceasing to operate) could lead to contract negotiation difficulties in the future because the unknown extent of the liability risk might make it difficult for contractors to insure against.
  9. Gambling Commissioners’ limited immunity might be seen as allowing potential exposure to liability to influence their decisions.
  10. the time periods over which matters that may be considered when assessing suitability to hold certain types of gambling licence are inconsistent, both internally and with the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004.
Minor policy enhancements
  1. requirements to disclose the details of prizes offered are inconsistent across the different forms of gambling. There are also fairness issues when non-cash prizes are offered eg a second hand car because unlike cash, the value and nature of other prizes is not always apparent.
  2. the current regulation-making powers are insufficient to allow the Government to respond to new developments in potentially harmful gambling technology (eg the Act bans gaming machines that accept banknotes of greater than $20 denomination, but this is already being undermined by the use of tickets instead of cash). It has also become apparent that the regulation-making power allowing restrictions on the availability of ATMs is insufficient to achieve its intention (ie to restrict gamblers’ access to cash for gambling by requiring them to cease play and leave the venue or, in casinos, the immediate area where the machines are located, to access an ATM). For example, the current regulation is already being undermined by the introduction of mobile EFTPOS that allows players to access cash without having to leave the gaming machine. The Act’s harm prevention objective might also not be achieved if, for example, EFTPOS devices were used like ATMs (ie to withdraw large amounts of cash without having to purchase a non-gambling product).safeguards designed to prevent persons with conflicts of interest from influencing decisions on operating gaming machines and distributing the proceeds do not apply to all persons who might make decisions on grants.
  3. only allowing clubs to merge onto 18 machine venues, which are limited in availability, detracts from the purpose of club mergers ie to allow clubs to improve their financial viability.
  4. some of the suitability criteria in relation to gambling licences are too narrow (eg certain crimes can be taken into account, but not other types of offences).
  5. it is not lawful for the Secretary to test the impact of new gambling equipment on the achievement of the Act’s objectives before making decisions on whether to authorise its introduction.
  6. casinos could ignore ongoing concerns about a person’s gambling behaviour once they have met the Act’s requirement to approach the person and provide information or advice, even if they have done so on just one occasion.
  7. casinos could avoid their obligations to take all reasonable steps to use the problem gambler identification policy for that venue to identify problem gamblers, by developing a very narrow policy.
  8. casino operators or class 4 venues could make little attempt to enforce the exclusion orders they have issued, and may not be held liable if excluded gamblers enter the premises as a result.
Resolving the implementation issues and making minor policy enhancements are necessary to ensure that the Act operates as intended and achieves its original policy objectives. It is important to resolve the drafting issues and clarify the law because large sums of money are often at stake in the gambling sector and there is a constant risk of operators legally challenging the Department’s interpretation of the Act’s provisions, and its decisions.

Statement of the Public Policy Objective

The policy objective is to resolve some drafting and implementation issues to ensure the Gambling Act 2003 operates as originally intended, and to make some minor policy enhancements to assist in achieving its policy objectives.


Statement of the feasible options (regulatory and/or non-regulatory) for achieving the desired objectives

Status Quo/ Preferred Option

This section combines the status quo and preferred option. No alternative options were considered because the proposed amendments are designed to directly address specific issues that have been identified during the implementation of the Act. The status quo would not achieve the policy objective because, to date, implementing the Act has highlighted that it is not operating as intended in some areas. The status quo/preferred option is to amend the Gambling Act 2003 as follows:

Drafting issues
  1. To be lawful, sales promotions involving gambling must not require the participant to pay anything in addition to purchasing the good or service being promoted. The proposal is to permit sales promotions that require payment of a communication cost (eg postage stamp) to enter the competition, as long as it is at the normal rate.
  2. There is currently a regulation-making power to specify property that cannot be a gambling prize. The proposal is to extend this power to cover services, particular quantities of a good or service (instead of a blanket ban), and to define the circumstances in which certain prizes may or may not be offered.
  3. There is currently no explicit obligation on recipients of grants from gaming machine proceeds to use the money for the purpose for which it was granted. During the Gaming Review, Ministers agreed that grants recipients be guilty of an offence if they fail to follow grant processes, with a $5,000 maximum infringement fee, and a $10,000 maximum fine on summary conviction, together with an obligation to repay the grant. The proposal is to implement this decision.

Implementation issues
  1. The Act specifies when the Gambling Commission must sit as a division instead of the full Commission, and requires the Chief Commissioner to always be part of a division. The proposal is to allow the Commission to determine these matters.
  2. All non-casino gaming machines must be connected to an EMS by March 2007. The Secretary can only lawfully contract with one entity to implement and monitor an EMS. The proposal is to authorise the temporary appointment of two monitors, to allow a smooth transfer of responsibilities when a contract ends.
  3. Casino and class 4 venues are required to exclude self-identified problem gamblers from the gambling area for up to two years, and to remove them if they return in that time. The proposal is to specify minimum information requirements that a venue manager must be able to obtain from a gambler who requests self-exclusion before he or she is required to issue an exclusion order.
  4. Casinos are required by “minimum operating standards” made by the Secretary to record information on problem gambler exclusions and to provide the information on request. The proposal is to introduce a statutory requirement for both casinos and class 4 operators to record this information and provide it to the Secretary on request.
  5. The Act does not preclude a society that mainly makes grants from also applying gaming machine funds to its own purposes in some circumstances. The proposal is to introduce criteria to determine which gaming machine societies may apply net proceeds to their own purposes and which may only make grants.
  6. There are two situations in which clubs can apply for ministerial approval to operate more than the statutory maximum of gaming machines - when a club moves to a new venue, and when clubs merge. In the former situation, the club’s previous venue retains its existing statutory limit (which, in general, is a limit of either 9 or 18 machines) in the event that another society operates machines at that venue. In the latter situation, each of the previous venues requires territorial authority consent in order to host gaming machines for another society and, if the venue does get consent, becomes subject to the lower statutory limit of 9 machines (or fewer, if the territorial authority imposes a condition on machine numbers). The proposal is to apply the latter requirement to both situations.
  7. Venues that host gaming machines (eg pubs) must bank the profits from the machines into a dedicated account of the society that operates the machines. The proposal is to both correct some drafting inconsistencies and make the provisions slightly more comprehensive to ensure that the intent of the provisions cannot be undermined eg require the money to be banked directly into the society’s account, and not used for other purposes in the meantime.
  8. The Crown has immunity from compensation claims if there is a fault in the EMS or telecommunications system that leads to operators’ gambling equipment temporarily ceasing to operate. The proposal is to provide the EMS monitor, who is contracted to operate the EMS on behalf of the Department, with similar immunity.
  9. The Gambling Commission’s immunities are set out in the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908, and not in the Gambling Act. The proposal is to enhance commissioners’ immunity in a way that is more appropriate for its functions and accountabilities under the Gambling Act.
  10. The time period for matters that can be taken into account when assessing suitability for class 4 or licensed promoter licences varies across criteria, and in some cases is inconsistent with the 7 years provided in the Criminal Procedures (Clean Slate) Act 2004. The proposal is to reduce the time period for matters that can be taken into account from the previous 10 years to 7 years, and to apply it to all the suitability criteria.

Minor policy enhancements
  1. Some forms of gambling must disclose the details of prizes offered. The proposal is to introduce a statutory requirement across all forms of gambling to disclose details of non-cash prizes to participants, to reflect a 2004 Cabinet decision [CAB Min (04) 22/4].
  2. Some of the more general regulation-making powers were not drafted as broadly as intended. The proposal is to include some specific powers, as follows:
    • to regulate the means of payment to participate in gaming machine gambling eg limit the amount that a credit meter can hold at a time (to prevent new technology from undermining the prohibition on gaming machines that can accept banknotes with denominations over $20);
    • to prescribe content and training standards for problem gambling awareness training (currently only very general requirements can be prescribed);
    • to restrict or prohibit EFTPOS and other means of accessing money for gambling (currently only ATMs can be regulated). This might include, for example, prohibiting EFTPOS devices from the gambling area, restricting transactions to the purchase of non-gambling goods or services, or banning/limiting cash withdrawals etc; and
    • to restrict or prohibit the use of inducements to gamble. This might include, for example, limits on the extent to which free food/drink/accommodation can be used as an incentive to gamble.
  3. The Act contains safeguards to ensure that persons with conflicts of interest do not influence decisions on conducting gambling, but they do not apply to all persons who have input to decisions on grants. The proposal is to extend the safeguards to apply to all persons who have input to grants decisions.
  4. Clubs that merge may apply for ministerial approval to operate up to 30 machines at the venue on which they merge, but only if that venue would otherwise be an 18 machine venue (which are limited in number). The proposal is to give clubs the option of merging onto a venue that would not otherwise be an 18 machine venue.
  5. The Secretary must not issue a licence for class 4 gambling or a licensed promoter (a person who conducts class 3 gambling, eg large raffles, on behalf of societies) unless satisfied that the licence holder and other relevant persons meet the Act’s suitability criteria eg past convictions. This is also the case for the Gambling Commission when making decisions on casino licensing. The proposal is to extend the criteria so that any offences considered relevant (not just crimes), and any management prohibitions under other legislation, such as the Companies Act 1993, can also be considered.
  6. Gambling equipment cannot be lawfully operated for research and evaluation purposes in a real life environment unless it complies with applicable technical requirements eg minimum standards prescribed by the Secretary. The proposal is to give the Secretary power to temporarily (eg for up to one year) deem a piece of gambling equipment compliant with these requirements for the purpose of assisting in the exercise of his or her functions under the Act.
  7. Venue managers and casino operator’s licence holders (or persons acting on their behalf) must approach gamblers they have identified as potential problem gamblers and provide information or advice. They may, but are not required to, issue an exclusion order for up to 2 years. The proposal is to require those persons to take all reasonable steps to assist a person they have identified as a potential problem gambler (up to, and in some cases including, issuing an exclusion order) if, after approaching them and providing the required information, their ongoing behaviour means there are still reasonable grounds to believe he or she is a problem gambler.
  8. Casino and non-casino gaming machine operators must develop a policy on identifying problem gamblers and ensure that the relevant staff at each venue take all reasonable steps to use that policy to identify potential problem gamblers. The policy must incorporate any requirements prescribed by regulation. There is currently power to make regulations prescribing information that may be used to assist in identifying problem gamblers. The proposal is to authorise the making of regulations that specify sources of information that must be used (eg to require operators to use information on individuals’ gambling behaviour from their loyalty schemes or closed-circuit television systems).
  9. Venue managers and casino operator’s licence holders (or persons acting on their behalf) commit an offence if they knowingly allow a self-excluded gambler to enter the venue in breach of his or her exclusion order. The proposal is to broaden the offence to include all breaches, but with a suitable defence if the defendant can show they have acted reasonably.
Some of the above proposals involve compliance costs to business and are discussed in the BCCS.

Statement of the net benefits of the proposal, including the total regulatory costs (administrative, compliance and economic costs) and benefits (including non-quantifiable benefits) of the proposal, and other feasible options

Government

The package of proposals will benefit the Government by ensuring the Act operates as originally intended and achieves its policy objectives. The Bill is also expected to reduce costs by providing greater legal clarity in some areas.

Some of the proposals are likely to increase the Department’s workload and costs. The increase is not expected to be significant in the context of the Department’s existing role in administering the Gambling Act, and would be met within baselines.

There might be an increase in club merger applications to the Minister that would need to be considered. It is not possible to quantify the additional workload because it is uncertain at this stage how many additional applications would be received.

Any additional investigations undertaken as a result of the broader suitability criteria might also increase workload and costs. However, the Department’s ability to check the suitability of licence holders more comprehensively is likely to enhance the integrity of gambling operations. It is not possible to quantify the costs because the Department decides on the extent of investigations necessary on a case-by-case basis. The impact is not expected to be significant, however, because much of the additional information could easily be provided by licence applicants as part of their application eg disclose convictions.

Any increase in costs from operating two EMS systems simultaneously when a contract ends are expected to be insignificant because the transition period would only be for a short time, and the two systems would only be partially operating during the transfer. It is expected that a transfer between systems or contractors would occur very infrequently eg after several years.

There might be an increase in the number of venues with more than the usual statutory maximum of 9 or 18 gaming machines. This would detract from the Act’s objective to control the growth of gambling. However, any increases are subject to consent from the territorial authority, issued in accordance with its policy on the number and location of gaming machines, which must be developed in consultation with the local community. These policies vary considerably in approach, from effectively allowing no increases at all, to imposing no restrictions on further growth. This means of control over the growth of gambling supports the Act’s objective to facilitate community involvement in decisions about gambling.

Gambling Operators

The proposals are not expected to have a significant impact on gambling operators in the context of the current regulatory environment and the systems they have already had to put in place in order to comply with the Gambling Act. There will be a direct impact on gambling operators if regulations are made as set out in (o) and (u) of the preferred option. The likely costs and benefits will be considered after public consultation under s372 of the Gambling Act. The extent of the costs and benefits of any such regulations is not known, but will be discussed in separate RIS/BCCSs at the time policy approvals are sought.

Giving the EMS monitor statutory immunity that is similar to the Crown’s immunity if it were to operate the EMS itself would preclude operators from seeking compensation if their machines stop operating as a result of a fault in the system. Given that the risk of this occurring is considered to be very low, it is not expected that this proposal will expose operators to significant risk. However, it might be opposed by some operators.

Strengthening the banking provisions would assist in ensuring that venues bank the correct amount of funds promptly into the operator’s account, and would reduce the risk of money being misappropriated. This would assist operators in meeting their statutory obligations.

Clubs would have more flexibility to address financial viability issues by merging because there would be more venues to choose from (eg they could move to new premises instead of having to renovate or upgrade their existing premises because there are no other 18 machine venues available).

The requirement to disclose information about non-cash prizes to gambling participants will involve compliance costs and is discussed in the BCCS.

Extending the suitability criteria for class 4, casino and licensed promoter licences may make it more difficult to get a licence because more matters can be taken into account. A new requirement for operators to keep records of problem gambler exclusions would involve compliance costs and is discussed in the BCCS. Casinos are already required by “minimum operating standards” made by the Secretary of Internal Affairs to keep this information, so will not be affected.

Specifying criteria for determining the circumstances in which a society may apply gaming machine money to its own purposes would affect societies that have either changed, or intend to apply to the Secretary to change, their licences so that they may apply funds to their own purposes instead of make grants. Two societies have already done so under the new Act and would have to undo any changes they have made to their processes. This is likely to include applying to the Secretary to amend their licences, and changing their governing document. There is expected to be little or no impact on the majority of societies.

Authorising the Secretary to temporarily deem a piece of gambling equipment compliant with applicable technical standards is not expected to have any significant impact on operators. This is because the Secretary would need to obtain operators’ agreement in order to test the equipment as part of their gambling operation, and the decision to exercise the power would often be in response to an operator’s request to introduce the new equipment.

The proposal to require venues to take all reasonable steps to assist a person they have identified as a potential problem gambler, if their ongoing behaviour means there are still reasonable grounds to believe he or she is a problem gambler, would require casinos to take a more active approach to assisting problem gamblers than is currently required. This proposal would involve compliance costs and is discussed in the BCCS.

Class 4 operators would already be expected to ensure that the venues at which they operate their machines perform at this level in order to continue to meet the Act’s stringent licensing criteria. The Secretary must not issue or renew a licence unless satisfied, for example, that the risk of problem gambling at the venue is minimised.

Making it an offence for a casino operator’s licence holder (or person acting on their behalf) to allow self-excluded gamblers to breach their exclusion orders would increase their risk of liability if an excluded gambler enters the venue undetected, unless the defendant can demonstrate that he or she has acted reasonably (eg had reasonable grounds to believe there were effective procedures in place to prevent excluded gamblers from entering the venue). It is expected that venues would already need to have such procedures in place order to comply with the Act’s requirement to remove excluded gamblers from the premises (ie staff still need to be familiar with current exclusion orders and keep an eye out for them inside the venue).

Venue operators

Venue operators are businesses at venues (eg pubs) that host gaming machines for licensed non-commercial operators and have some specific responsibilities under the Act. Venue operators are reimbursed for the actual, reasonable and necessary costs they incur in hosting the machines and carrying out those tasks, and their involvement in gambling, like that of operators, should not be for commercial gain. Venue operators would not be affected by the majority of the proposals, which are focused on the non-commercial groups that operate gaming machines to raise money for the community. For those that do affect them, the impact is not expected to be significant, particularly in light of the procedures they are already required to have in place in order to comply with the Act.

Specifying minimum information that venue managers, or staff acting on their behalf, would need to obtain from gamblers that request self-exclusion would involve compliance costs for venue operators and is discussed in the BCCS. This proposal would benefit venue staff by ensuring they are not liable for failing to issue an exclusion order in situations where the gambler does not provide sufficient information in order for them to reasonably be expected to do so.

The proposal to require the venue manager (or person acting on their behalf) to take all reasonable steps to assist a person they have identified as a potential problem gambler, if their ongoing behaviour means there are still reasonable grounds to believe he or she is a problem gambler, would not affect venue operators because they would already be expected to perform at this level in order to be eligible to host gaming machines for a licensed class 4 operator (ie it is likely that the operator’s licence for that venue would be suspended, licensed or not renewed if the Secretary was not satisfied, for example, that the risk of problem gambling at the venue is being minimised).

Making it an offence for the venue manager (or person acting on their behalf) to allow self-excluded gamblers to breach their exclusion orders would increase that person’s risk of liability if an excluded gambler enters the venue undetected, unless the defendant can demonstrate that he or she has acted reasonably. It is expected that venues would already need to have procedures of this type in place in order to comply with the Act’s requirement to remove excluded gamblers from the premises if they enter.

Venue owners

Requiring societies to obtain territorial authority consent for a venue when the previous club tenant has vacated, and obtained ministerial approval to operate additional machines at the new venue, would indirectly affect the venue’s owner, who (if not the club itself) does not have any role in the operation of gaming machines. This is because the venue might not get consent to host gaming machines at all or, if it does get consent, would only be able to host 9 or fewer machines (and would therefore be perceived as a less valuable asset than if it was still an 18 machine venue). However, the proposal is consistent with a key principle underlying the Gambling Act – that gaming machines are permitted only to raise money for the community and not to generate commercial gain.

Gambling Commission

The Commission’s ability to check the suitability of casino licence holders will be enhanced because more matters could be considered. Any additional investigations arising from the broader criteria would add to the Commission’s workload and costs. It is not possible to quantify the costs at this stage because the Commission makes decisions on the extent of its investigations on a case-by-case basis.

Allowing the Commission to determine when it sits as a division has the potential to increase costs eg travel if all Commissioners need to be in one place. However, it might enhance decision-making if a broader range of expertise is needed in a particular case. Removing the requirement for the Chief Commissioner to always sit as a member of a division is likely reduce the potential for conflicts of interest if he or she has an interest in a particular case. It might also enable the Commission to process appeals more efficiently if its meetings are not reliant on the Chief Commissioner’s availability.

Society

Amending the prohibited prizes regulation-making power will lead to public consultation on a proposal to make regulations removing the current prohibition on liquor as a prize, subject to limits on quantity, in order to reflect a Cabinet decision that cannot currently be implemented because only a complete ban is authorised. The flexibility to prescribe circumstances in which a prize can be offered would enable other implications to be addressed, eg the risk of minors accessing alcohol. The impact of the proposed regulations would be discussed in a separate RIS/BCCS when seeking policy approvals.

The benefits of achieving the Act’s objectives are expected to flow to society, in particular by enhancing the integrity of gambling operations and assisting in the prevention and minimisation of harm.

Community funding is unlikely to be significantly affected. However, there might be an increase in funding for the activities of clubs that operate gaming machines to raise money for their own authorised (community) purposes. This would arise from the increased flexibility to merge in an attempt to reduce the costs of operating the machines.

Requiring societies to obtain territorial authority consent for a venue when the previous club tenant has vacated, and obtained ministerial approval to operate additional machines at the new venue, would indirectly benefit the local community because territorial authority gambling venue policies are developed in consultation with their communities.

Allowing sales promotions whereby participants incur a communication cost to enter would increase the flexibility of promoters of goods and services in terms of determining how they run their promotions.

Imposing obligations on grant recipients to use grant money for the purpose it was made will enhance fairness to other groups that apply for grants and, if it reduces misappropriation, would increase community funding.

Extending the Act’s conflict of interest safeguards to apply to all grant decision makers might both reduce the likelihood of conflicts of interest influencing decisions, and enhance public confidence in the grant-making process.

Statement of consultation undertaken

Given the relatively technical nature of the proposals, many of which are designed to close potential loopholes in the Act, it was not considered appropriate to consult publicly on these matters prior to seeking Cabinet decisions.


The following government agencies were given the opportunity to comment: Treasury, Ministry of Health, DPMC, SPARC, State Services Commission, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Police, Te Puni Kokiri, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Youth Development and Ministry of Economic Development. No significant issues were raised.

The Gambling Commission was consulted on proposals relating to its immunities and ability to determine when it sits as a division. As it is a key body in the new regulatory regime, it was also consulted as to whether there are any other matters that require consideration for possible amendment.

Business Compliance Cost Statement

The following proposals will involve compliance costs:
  1. specify minimum information that casino or class 4 venue staff must be able to obtain from the gambler before they are required to issue and enforce a problem gambling exclusion order
  2. introduce a statutory requirement for casino and class 4 operators to keep a record of problem gambler exclusions and provide this information to the Secretary on request
  3. introduce a statutory requirement across all forms of gambling to disclose details of non-cash prizes to participants
  4. require casino operators to take all reasonable steps to assist a person they have identified as a potential problem gambler if, after approaching them and providing the required information, their ongoing behaviour means there are still reasonable grounds to believe he or she is a problem gambler.
All the proposals will involve costs associated with implementing the new requirements.

To take advantage of proposal (f), the 72 gaming machine societies that operate machines on commercial premises, 409 clubs that operate machines in their own clubrooms, 1,262 commercial venue operators and the 6 casinos would need to put systems in place for venue managers at each venue to seek the necessary information from gamblers seeking exclusion. This is not expected to be very onerous because venue managers already need to ask the gambler for certain information in order to comply with the current statutory requirements to issue exclusion orders.

Proposal (g) would require gaming machine societies to incorporate the issue of problem gambler exclusion orders into existing reporting systems. It is expected that this would simply involve requesting the information from venues as required. It is assumed that venues would have to keep this information anyway in order to comply with the Act’s exclusion requirements. Casino operators would be unaffected because they are already required to hold this information under minimum operating standards made by the Secretary.

Proposal (n) would affect community groups who organise gambling activities to fund-raise (it is not certain how many groups will be affected because not all gambling requires a licence from the Department), the 6 casinos, and the New Zealand Racing Board. The costs would consist of organising the necessary paperwork or systems to ensure that participants are informed of the details of non-cash prizes. This requirement is not expected to be very onerous because advertising the prizes offered is usual practice in order to encourage participation, and only a few key details, if any, would need to be added to the information already provided eg if a car, the make, model, value and whether it is second hand might be required (instead of just “win a car”). Gaming machine societies would be unaffected because gaming machine prizes are paid in cash.

Proposal (t) would require casinos to put in place procedures to ensure that they continue to monitor the behaviour of persons identified as potential problem gamblers, even after they have initially approached them and provided the required information, and to take reasonable steps to assist them (eg approach them again, or in some cases, issue an exclusion order). This is likely to involve amending any relevant internal policies/procedures and ensuring that staff are aware of the new requirements. The new requirements are not expected to be very onerous given that casinos already have a similar duty towards gamblers that have not yet been identified and approached.

The Department of Internal Affairs will continue to work with the gambling sector to assist in their compliance with the Act. The Department’s website, Gambits newsletter, and summary factsheets will be used to communicate the changes where appropriate.