A significant proportion of gaming venues will be exempt from the proposed reforms to electronic gaming machines (EGMs), at least until 2018. Mr Wilkie's proposal is for venues to introduce mandatory pre-commitment on high intensity EGMs or deploy low intensity machines which have been configured to limit losses to around $120 per hour (or a combination of the two). But the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform Committee Mr Wilkie chaired on the proposed mandatory pre-commitment scheme also recommended (see recommendations 39 & 40 of the Committee's report
) that venues with 15 or fewer machines, and those in rural and regional Australia, be exempt from this requirement until 2018. This was in recognition that smaller venues may require special consideration and assistance regarding the implementation timeframe and costs.
If the proposal to delay implementation for these venues is reflected in the forthcoming legislation it would mean that in New South Wales (NSW) the majority of venues would be exempt from the new requirements until 2018. This is because 51 per cent of venues in that jurisdiction have 15 or fewer EGMs, according to data
provided to the Committee by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
In Queensland, 37 per cent of venues would be exempt from the new law, while in South Australia 36 per cent of venues would not need to comply. Venues in Victoria and Tasmania would be those most affected by the new law as just under 2 per cent in Victoria and 25.5 per cent in Tasmania of venues have 15 or fewer machines. See Table below:
|Jurisdiction||Number of venues having|
fewer than 15 EGMs
|Percentage of venues having|
fewer than 15 EGMs %
. Data for NT is not comparable. WA only allows EGMs in the
For many venues, the proposed new requirements are unlikely to have an immediate impact on their operations. By the time smaller venues, and those in rural and regional Australia, would be required to comply with the law in 2018, considerable data on the effectiveness or otherwise of mandatory pre-commitment should be available, including from the proposed trial. This should add to the evidence from trials of voluntary pre-commitment (detailed in Appendix C
of the Productivity Commission report), which suggest that setting limits can reduce problem gambling prevalence.