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AMENDMENTS - GAMBLING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (ONLINE AND OTHER BETTING) BILL 2019

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
22 October 2019

Ms CATE FAEHRMANN: By leave: I move The Greens amendments Nos 1 to 10 on sheet c2019-085E in globo:

No. 1 Penalties for offences

Page 3, Schedule 1 [4], insert after line 28—

Omit "50" and "500" wherever occurring in the penalty provision in section 33H(1), (4) and (5).

Insert instead "100" and "1000", respectively.

No. 2 Prohibitions on gambling-related advertisements

Page 3, Schedule 1 [4], line 29. Omit all words on that line. Insert instead—

[5] Section 33H (3)

Omit the subsection.

No. 3 Consent to direct marketing

Page 3, Schedule 1 [5], line 36. Omit "expressly consented". Insert instead "given express and informed consent".

No. 4 Withdrawal of consent to direct marketing

Page 4, Schedule 1 [5]. Insert after line 3—

(4) A person is taken to have withdrawn consent to receive all gambling advertisements from or on behalf of the provider if the person has not logged into the person's betting account for a period of 12 months.

No. 5 Penalties for offences

Page 4, Schedule 1 [5], lines 19 and 20. Omit all words on those lines. Insert instead—

(a) for an individual—100 penalty units, or

(b) for a corporation—1000 penalty units.

No. 6 Penalties for offences

Page 5, Schedule 1 [6], lines 3 and 4. Omit all words on those lines. Insert instead—

(a) for an individual—100 penalty units, or

(b) for a corporation—1000 penalty units.

No. 7 Penalties for offences

Pages 5 and 6, Schedule 1 [6], line 47 on page 5 and line 1 on page 6. Omit all words on those lines.

Insert instead—

(a) for an individual—100 penalty units, or

(b) for a corporation—1000 penalty units.

No. 8 Penalties for offences

Page 6, Schedule 1 [6], lines 26 and 27. Omit all words on those lines. Insert instead—

(a) for an individual—100 penalty units, or

(b) for a corporation—1000 penalty units.

No. 9 Consent to direct marketing

Page 8, Schedule 2 [4], line 31. Omit "expressly consented". Insert instead "given express and informed consent".

No. 10 Penalties for offences

Page 9, Schedule 2 [4], lines 10 and 11. Omit all words on those lines. Insert instead—

(a) for an individual—100 penalty units, or

(b) for a corporation—1000 penalty units.

 

On behalf of The Greens I put forward these amendments to the Government's Gambling Legislation Amendment (Online and Other Betting) Bill 2019. Our amendments seek to strengthen the bill's ability to reduce the harm caused by online gambling. Amendments Nos 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 double the penalty for infringements by online betting agencies. Infringements will increase from 50 units to 100 units for individuals under this amendment and from 500 units to 1,000 units for corporations. This represents an increase from $5,500 to $11,000 for individuals and $55,000 to $110,000 for corporations respectively.

Not only are the current fines not enough to act as a deterrent to stop gambling agencies doing the wrong thing, gambling agencies are rarely fined the full amount. I have previously mentioned the meagre $10,000 that Sportsbet was fined for illegal television advertisements inducing users to invite their friends to the app for a $100 betting bonus. This fine is nothing compared to its $215 million in profit that year. The magistrate in that case called on the need for greater penalties to deter betting agencies from breaking the law. On 5 July 2018 SportChamps was fined just $2,500 for an illegal advertisement on its website and in 2018 PointsBet was fined $20,000 for an illegal gambling advertisement but floated its company for $280 million just after the fine had been handed down.

For these betting agencies being fined for doing the wrong thing is merely the cost of business. By increasing the penalty units we are signalling to betting agencies that it is a community expectation that agencies will not be able to get away with doing the wrong thing. We are also signalling to the courts that it is the community's expectation that betting agencies will pay the appropriate fine. The Greens amendments, which I hope the House will support, will double the penalties. If supported, these amendments will send a message to the courts that betting agencies that do the wrong thing should receive heftier fines.

Amendment No. 4 automatically withdraws the consent to directly market to a user of a betting service after they have not logged in or been active on their betting account for a period of 12 months. If they log into their account after 12 months they will be required to opt in to marketing again. If a user begins to neglect one particular agency in favour of another, a promotion from that service could easily induce them to return to that agency, resulting in them placing bets through multiple agencies simultaneously. Having the account go dormant after a period decreases the likelihood that users will maintain multiple accounts and therefore decreases the likelihood that they will engage in problematic gambling behaviour.

Amendments Nos 3 and 9 clarify the wording around users having to explicitly consent to receive direct marketing from online betting agencies. This ensures that the agency uses an opt‑in rather than an opt‑out system. Inducements to bet include multi‑bet offers and stake back offers and also match your stake or deposit offers, cash out early on a multi‑bet, sign up bonuses, rewards programs, better odds winning offers and more. These promotions have been found to drive gambling uptake, with many young men in particular viewing those promotions as an appealing low‑risk or no loss betting option. They also encourage users to open accounts with multiple betting agencies in order to take advantage of as many inducements as possible. The end result is that users get constantly bombarded by different agencies with promotions designed to get them to engage in risky betting behaviour.

These amendments will ensure that users are required to opt in, ultimately reducing the amount of users that are exposed to direct marketing and inducements. Those experiencing gambling problems, in particular young men, are vulnerable to the power of promotions and it is the responsibility of the House to do everything possible to reduce their exposure to direct marketing by betting agencies. These amendments mean that fewer users will be exposed to direct marketing and gambling inducements. This means fewer users will be at risk of developing a gambling problem.

I hope members in this place support these amendments. My office has had very constructive discussions with the Minister's office and with the Opposition in relation to these amendments. We have come to a good place to put forward reasonable amendments that will reduce gambling harm further than the Government's current bill. I commend the amendments to the House.

 

Amendments agreed to.

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
22 October 2019
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