House debates

Wednesday, 8 February 2017


Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016; Consideration in Detail

5:17 pm

Photo of Andrew WilkieAndrew Wilkie (Denison, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move amendments (1) to (4), as circulated in my name, together:

(1)   Schedule 1, item 9, page 6 (line 7), omit the definition of place-based betting service in section 4.

(2)   Schedule 1, item 23, page 8 (lines 6 to 8), omit the item.

(3)   Schedule 1, item 27, page 12 (lines 11 to 35), omit section 8BA.

(4)   Schedule 1, item 28, page 13 (line 24), omit paragraph 8E(1)(d).

I have already spoken at some length about the bill in its entirety and I will speak only briefly about these amendments. I would like to take the opportunity to say to the minister again: I applaud the government for moving on reform of online gambling. It is way over time—it should have been done before this by previous governments—but the main thing is that it is being done now, so that is good.

I find this bill broadly appealing. There is one deficiency in it, which is the substantive nature of the amendments and which I will speak to. I am sure the minister is already aware of it. I have already, in my speech earlier today, acknowledged the fact that the government—again, to be commended—is intending to move another bill later in the year to provide consumer protection measures. I just hope that that is not very far away and I hope it covers all of the things that we are not covering today.

I agree with the Labor opposition that really, by today, we should be talking about a permanent ban on the advertising of gambling during any G-rated television time—including sports broadcasts, when so many children are watching a great clash, watching their sporting heroes do battle on the field. It is a time when children are very, very vulnerable to watching and learning from this sort of advertising, so it is a missed opportunity not to do that.

Mr Speaker, through you, I say to the minister: when you do get to the next bill, please take every opportunity to address a whole range of things. I know the member for Mayo, in moving her amendments, shortly will talk about the need for a national exclusion database. The minister and I have already spoken about the need to go much further on giving credit during gambling. It is one thing to say that service providers should not provide credit to gamblers, yet we still allow the use of credit cards for online gambling, which means effectively that everyone is enjoying credit when they are gambling online.

I am very impressed by the initiative from some in the finance and banking sector that debit cards only be allowed for online gambling, and I note that at least one Australian bank has already introduced a prohibition on the use of their credit cards for online gambling. So there is a long way to go, but I do not want that to detract from the fact that the government is to be applauded for taking this step.

To the substantive nature of the amendments: the minister would already be aware that I am concerned, and many people are concerned, that there is a possibility of the bill, unamended, liberalising in-house in-play betting. Currently places like TABs or casinos can have hardwired devices on which people can gamble in-play during a sporting event. I am concerned that the current wording of the bill would allow such places of gambling to introduce wireless devices such as iPads, and I am worried that that would be a slippery slope; that it would be only a matter of time before Crown Casino, for example, might say, 'If you are going to come into our casino and gamble in-play in-house then it may be easier if you just download our Crown app.' Then, after a little bit longer, they might say, 'Well, if you want to go outside onto the footpath and have a cigarette, it might be more convenient if you were allowed to at least go outside the door onto the footpath.' Then—a slippery slope—a little bit further on, 'Well, if you're going out onto the footpath and having a cigarette while you have in-play betting on your own device, maybe you can just do it at home.' Before we know it we will have completely liberalised in-house in-play betting, which, at the moment, is pretty tightly held by those places.

That is my amendment, which I hope the government will embrace. I note the government has not had any appetite for this change so far, but I see great merit in this. I am sure it would be a very popular amendment in the community.


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