New South Wales govt seeks public feedback on betting and racing legislation

The government of New South Wales has set itself an objective to ‘improve, modernise and streamline’ the state’s wagering and racing laws, which are due for repeal on 1 September 2022. 

Currently, betting and horse racing in Australia’s most populous state are governed by the Betting and Racing Act 1998 and Betting and Racing Regulation 2012 and the Totalizator Act 1997 and Totalizator Regulation 2012.

With the regulations set to expire in just under four months time, regional authorities are seeking to remake the legislation, making updates to address contemporary trends since the laws and codes were first enacted between 10 and 25 years ago and maintain transparency in how wagering and racing operates in the state. 

“Allowing the current regulation to lapse without replacement would reduce transparency and accountability for government, community and industry stakeholders, which would not have access to clear statutory rules about crucial matters relating to the responsible conduct of wagering on or off a racecourse in NSW,” a Regulatory Impact Statement read.

“This option would lead to the loss of provisions designed to promote industry integrity and standards as well as community protection measures and may pose significant threats to public confidence in the conduct of betting services.”

Key objectives include strengthening harm minimisation principles and gambling practices, such as specifying ‘some inducements’, and improving compliance. 

A notable potential compliance change is the introduction of ‘certain penalty notices’ for the first time adjustment fee collection annually for inflation. 

There will also be modifications to the way the state Minister for Hospitality and Racing is notified by totalizator betting service providers.

Liquor & Gaming NSW is seeking feedback from the general public on the legislation, in order to better understand the opinions of the state’s consumers on the matter, with the closing date for views 22 June.  

The announcement comes amid a public debate on gambling regulation in Australia, with a key discussion revolving around the prevalence of betting advertising during sporting events.

Earlier this year, two NSW rugby clubs – the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and South Sydney Rabbitohsbecame the first National Rugby League (NRL) teams to sign up to the state’s ‘Reclaim the Game’ initiative, distancing themselves from sports betting marketing.

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