Mandatory pre-commitment: no dice yet

Parliament house flag post

Mandatory pre-commitment: no dice yet

Posted 23/01/2012 by Amanda Biggs

The government announced last Saturday that due to a lack of Parliamentary support it would not proceed with legislation to require mandatory pre-commitment (MPC) on electronic gaming machines (EGMs). Instead it announced a trial of MPC in the ACT to test its effectiveness before committing to proceed down this path nationally, and introduce a raft of other measures to tackle problem gambling. In response Independent MP Mr Wilkie, whose ongoing support for the government required the introduction and successful passage of legislation implementing MPC by May 2012, announced he had withdrawn his support for the government.
The announcement by the government to not proceed with MPC nationally was met with disappointment from advocates, such as Get Up!, who argue MPC is urgently required to help problem gamblers. Unsurprisingly, opponents, including Clubs Australia which has mounted a vigorous campaign against MPC, have welcomed the announcement.
The government stated it remained committed to tackling problem gambling, including to introducing MPC if the trial finds it is effective. It also announced a number of other initiatives to address problem gambling and these include:
  • From 2013, all new poker machines must be capable of supporting MPC;
  • By end of 2016 all poker machines must be part of a state linked pre-commitment system, except eligible small venues which will have longer;
  • Introducing a $250 daily withdrawal limit from ATMs in gaming venues (excluding casinos) by 1 February 2013;
  • Electronic warnings and cost of play displays on poker machines by 2016;
  • Additional counselling support with 50 new financial counsellors to work with problem gamblers, and expanding the reach of Gambling Help Online;
  • Strengthening self-exclusion arrangements;
  • Improving training for staff in pokies venues;
  • Banning the promotion of live odds during sports coverage;
  • Extending pre-commitment to online betting services;
  • Banning online sports betting companies from offering credit and enforcing stricter limits on betting inducements; and
  • Increasing the powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to enforce these new rules.
Some problem gambling advocates have expressed cautious support for these measures, one, Tom Cummings has even suggested that taken together, these reforms may go further than the original proposal around MPC.

A number of these initiatives will require legislation to implement, notably: the requirement all new machines from 2013 must be MPC-enabled as well as networked, the trial of MPC in the ACT, the ban on online credit, the ATM limits, and the promotion of live odds.

Although the government has expressed confidence (see the PM's comments from the press conference) it has the necessary Parliamentary support for all these measures, nevertheless the support of the Parliament is not guaranteed. Some in the industry may yet seek to lobby against some or all of these measures. The Clubs Industry has been opposed to the ATM withdrawal limits, and online sports betting agency Sportsbet has already expressed concerns around the proposal to ban credit for online gamblers. Further, support from the states and territories is not assured either, meaning that the future of many of these reforms still remains uncertain.

Meanwhile the proposed trial in the ACT, which is yet to be agreed to by the clubs industry, may also raise concerns. The financial assistance package of $36 million announced, which includes compensating ACT clubs for possible revenue losses and upgrades of machines, may raise questions around whether this level of expenditure for the industry is entirely justified. This recent report from the Australia Institute suggests that industry estimates of the cost of upgrading to MPC have been significantly overstated. Some may also compare this level of industry spending to the amount of additional expenditure for Gambling Help Online the government also announced which is significantly less, just $300 000. Further, the design and evaluation of the trial is also likely to be of ongoing interest. If it is not seen to be completely independent of industry influence, then it would raise questions over the legitimacy of its findings. There are also questions about the validity of a trial in the ACT given the proximity to venues in NSW that will not be introducing mandatory pre-commitment.


  • 21/01/2014 3:34 PM
    martin butterfield said:

    1) Can the Library research by how much pokie revenue in Qbn was affected when pokies were permitted in ACT? 2) Involving Clubs in the design of the ACT trial is claimed to introduce bias, but involving anti-pokie folk does not introduce bias? Bizarre: let them both be there and battle it out.

  • 21/01/2014 3:34 PM
    Amanda Biggs said:

    Martin, unfortunately we can’t assist with your research request. The Parliamentary Library is resourced to provide information, analysis and advice for Members and Senators only. You could try directing your research request to your local or state library service who may be able to assist.

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment Sport illicit drugs people trafficking taxation Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force higher education welfare policy United Nations Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget health financing gambling school education forced labour aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA emissions trading Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations people smuggling dental health National Disability Insurance Scheme Australian Crime Commission slavery Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service International Women's Day corruption Afghanistan Fair Work Act child protection debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure poker machines ALP New Zealand Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament political parties Census constitution High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth paid parental leave Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers Special Rapporteur leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy violence against women domestic violence mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing by-election European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas family assistance planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing money laundering Productivity asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets health reform Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration health system Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship human rights citizenship Defence High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions Norway hospitals

Show all
Show less
Back to top