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A Bill for an Act to provide for the regulation of poker machines to reduce the harm of problem gambling, and for related purposes
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Registered 26 Mar 2012
Introduced Senate 22 Mar 2012

 

2010‑2011‑2012

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poker Machine Harm Reduction ($1 Bets and Other Measures) Bill 2012

 

No.      , 2012

 

(Senators Di Natale, Madigan and Xenophon)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to provide for the regulation of poker machines to reduce the harm of problem gambling, and for related purposes

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Object of Act....................................................................................... 2

4............ Application of Act to external Territories............................................ 2

5............ Relationship with State and Territory law........................................... 2

6............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

Part 2—Restrictions on the practical operation of poker machines       4

7............ Dealing with poker machines.............................................................. 4

8............ Regulation of parameters of practical operation of poker machines..... 5

9............ Variation of parameters of practical operation of poker machines....... 5

Part 3—Civil penalties                                                                                                         6

10.......... Pecuniary penalties for contravention of civil penalty provisions........ 6

11.......... Contravening a civil penalty provision is not an offence..................... 7

12.......... Recovery of a pecuniary penalty......................................................... 7

Part 4—Minimum uniform national standards and national monitoring network           8

13.......... Uniform national standards and national monitoring network............. 8

Part 5—Miscellaneous                                                                                                         9

14.......... Regulations......................................................................................... 9

 


A Bill for an Act to provide for the regulation of poker machines to reduce the harm of problem gambling, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Poker Machine Harm Reduction ($1 Bets and Other Measures) Act 2012.

2  Commencement

                   This Act commences at the end of 28 days after the day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.

3  Object of Act

                   The object of this Act is to reduce the harm caused by problem poker machine gambling, by limiting the rate of poker machine losses that can occur, through the regulation of the parameters of the practical operation of poker machines.

4  Application of Act to external Territories

                   This Act extends to the external Territories.

5  Relationship with State and Territory law

                   This Act is not intended to exclude or limit the concurrent operation of any law of a State or Territory, to the extent that the law is capable of operating concurrently with this Act.

6  Definitions

                   In this Act:

Australia, when used in a geographical sense, includes the external Territories.

civil penalty provision has the meaning given by subsection 7(6).

corporation means a corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies.

game, in relation to a poker machine, means a play, or a series of plays, initiated by the application of a monetary credit registered on the machine.

jackpot, in relation to a poker machine, means the combination of letters, numbers, symbols or representations as part of a game on that machine that pays the maximum winnings payable on that machine for any one combination.

licence means a poker machine licence issued under a law of a State or Territory relating to poker machines.

licensed venue means a venue for which a licence is in force.

linked‑jackpot arrangement means an arrangement under which a single jackpot operates over two or more poker machines.

poker machine includes:

                     (a)  gaming machine; and

                     (b)  any machine licensed or required to be licensed for use in a State or Territory as a poker machine or gaming machine.

spin rate, in relation to a poker machine, means the interval between spins on the poker machine.


 

Part 2Restrictions on the practical operation of poker machines

  

7  Dealing with poker machines

             (1)  A corporation must not, after 31 December 2012, sell or lease, or offer to sell or lease, a poker machine for use in Australia unless the machine is capable of complying with each requirement in section 8.

             (2)  A corporation must not, after 31 December 2016, sell or lease, or offer to sell or lease, a poker machine for use in Australia unless the machine complies with each requirement in section 8.

             (3)  A corporation that operates a licensed venue with more than 10 poker machines must not, after 31 December 2016, acquire, install, own, operate or lease a poker machine unless the machine complies with each requirement in section 8.

             (4)  A corporation that operates a licensed venue with 10 or less poker machines must not, after 31 December 2018, acquire, install, own, operate or lease a poker machine unless the machine complies with each requirement in section 8.

             (5)  A person must not:

                     (a)  aid, abet, counsel or procure a contravention of subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4); or

                     (b)  induce, whether by threats or promises or otherwise, a contravention of subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4); or

                     (c)  be in any way, directly or indirectly, knowingly concerned in, or party to, a contravention of subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4); or

                     (d)  conspire with others to effect a contravention of subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4).

             (6)  Subsections (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) are civil penalty provisions.

Note:          Part 3 provides for pecuniary penalties for breaches of civil penalty provisions.

8  Regulation of parameters of practical operation of poker machines

Bank note denomination

             (1)  The machine must not accept banknotes of a denomination greater than $20.

Entering credits

             (2)  The machine must not be capable of accepting additional credits from a player if the machine stands in credit to the player to the value of $20 or more.

Maximum bet

             (3)  The machine must not be capable of allowing a maximum bet in excess of $1 per spin.

Jackpots and linked‑jackpot arrangements

             (4)  The machine must not have a jackpot or a linked‑jackpot arrangement greater than $500.

9  Variation of parameters of practical operation of poker machines

                   The regulations may provide for, or in relation to, the reduction of:

                     (a)  the amounts set out in subsections 8(1), (2), (3) and (4); and

                     (b)  the spin rate of poker machines.


 

Part 3Civil penalties

10  Pecuniary penalties for contravention of civil penalty provisions

Application for order

             (1)  Within 6 years of a person (the wrongdoer) contravening a civil penalty provision, the Minister may apply on behalf of the Commonwealth to the Federal Court of Australia for an order that the wrongdoer pay the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty.

Court may order wrongdoer to pay pecuniary penalty

             (2)  If the Court is satisfied that a person has contravened a civil penalty provision, the Court may order the person to pay to the Commonwealth such pecuniary penalty, in respect of each contravention, as the Court determines to be appropriate.

Determining amount of pecuniary penalty

             (3)  In determining the pecuniary penalty, the Court must have regard to all relevant matters, including:

                     (a)  the nature, extent and circumstances of the contravention; and

                     (b)  the nature and extent of any loss or damage suffered as a result of the contravention; and

                     (c)  whether the person has previously been found by the Court in proceedings under this Act to have engaged in any similar conduct.

             (4)  In assessing the extent of any loss or damage, the Court may consider the harm that is caused to vulnerable people, to their families and to Australian society by the use of expensive and addictive poker machines.

             (5)  The pecuniary penalty payable under subsection (2) is not to exceed 2,000 penalty units for each contravention.

             (6)  A failure to comply with more than one subsection in section 8 constitutes more than one contravention of a civil penalty provision even if that contravention relates to the same conduct.

             (7)  A person who contravenes a civil penalty provision commits a separate contravention of that provision in respect of each day (including a day of the making of a relevant civil penalty order or any subsequent day) during which the contravention continues.

             (8)  The pecuniary penalty payable under subsection (2) for such a separate contravention in respect of a particular day must not exceed 10% of the maximum pecuniary penalty that could have been imposed for the contravention if subsection (7) had not been enacted.

11  Contravening a civil penalty provision is not an offence

                   A contravention of a civil penalty provision is not an offence.

12  Recovery of a pecuniary penalty

                   If the Federal Court orders a person to pay a pecuniary penalty:

                     (a)  the penalty is payable to the Commonwealth; and

                     (b)  the Commonwealth may enforce the order as if it were a judgment of the Court.


 

Part 4Minimum uniform national standards and national monitoring network

  

13  Uniform national standards and national monitoring network

             (1)  The Minister must take all reasonable steps to ensure that, in consultation with the Council of Australian Governments and the Ministerial Council on Gambling:

                     (a)  minimum uniform national standards for poker machines are developed that encompass harm minimisation best practice, with particular reference to maximum losses; and

                     (b)  the minimum uniform national standards developed under paragraph (a) are in place and take effect from 1 January 2015; and

                     (c)  a national poker machine monitoring network is established.

             (2)  Consultation in accordance with subsection (1) must commence within 90 days of this Act receiving the Royal Assent.


 

Part 5Miscellaneous

  

14  Regulations

                   The Governor‑General may make regulations prescribing matters:

                     (a)  required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed; or

                     (b)  necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.