NT Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling 2016
For many people, gambling is an enjoyable entertainment activity that doesn’t cause any issues or problems. Unfortunately some people can experience a loss of control from their gambling that results in problems for themselves, their families, their employer and the community in general.
The Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling (the Code) aims to minimise to individuals and the community the harms associated with loss of control of gambling through the creation of responsible gambling environments in line with best practice and community expectations. The Code sets out minimum requirements for NT gambling providers to adopt to reduce harms associated with problem gambling. Licenced operators are encouraged to implement additional strategies to further minimise harm.
What is responsible gambling?
Responsible gambling allows individuals to make informed decisions about how they gamble. It can result from a regulated environment where the potential for gambling related harms are minimised. It occurs through the actions and ownership by individuals, communities, the regulator and the gambling industry to achieve socially acceptable outcomes.
- they may gamble for pleasure and entertainment but are aware of the likelihood of losing, and understand the associated risks
- they exercise control over their gambling behaviour
- gambling occurs in balance with other activities in their lives and is not causing problems or harms for themselves or others.
For the broader community, including online gambling operators:
- shared responsibility for generating awareness of the risks associated with gambling
- creating and promoting environments that prevent or minimise problem gambling
- being responsive to community concerns around gambling.
What is problem gambling?
In their 2010 report, the Productivity Commission reported that adult prevalence rates are 0.7% and 1.7% of the adult population for problem and moderate risk gambling respectively. Further reports show that a further 1.5% to 2% of adults have milder difficulties. However, problem gambling often impacts on those beyond the individual, such as family, friends, employers and those in the broader community.
Problem gambling is characterised by difficulties in limiting money and/or time spent on gambling which leads to negative impacts for the gambler, others, or for the community.
The negative impacts resulting from problem gambling can broadly include, but are not limited to:
- excessive financial losses relative to the gambler’s income
- adverse personal effects on the gambler, family, friends and work colleagues as well as the broader community
- adverse physical and mental health issues
- negative impacts on work performance
- legal problems.
However, the negative impacts from problem gambling can run much deeper.
From a personal perspective, a problem gambler may experience:
- poor health
- thoughts of suicide and sometimes, attempts
- isolation from family and friends
- theft, fraud and other crimes.
From the family and friends perspective of a problem gambler, they may experience:
- neglect by the gambler
- the gambler missing family functions or other obligations
- regular requests for money
- pawning or selling family items
- arguments over time and money spent gambling
- domestic and family violence
- children may be left unsupervised or neglected due to the time spent gambling
- family breakdown.
Employers may face issues with a problem gambler employee including:
- poor performance
- theft from the employer or other staff members.
While not as widely recognised as personal and family issues, the broader community suffers from problem gambling through:
- costs associated with family breakdown
- the need for Government to establish intervention services and counselling support
- costs associated with imprisonment for fraud and theft
- costs associated with hospitalisations.
The Code has been established to achieve the following outcomes:
- Minimising the extent of gambling-related harm to individuals and the broader community
- Enabling people to make informed decisions about their gambling activities
- Enabling people (not just the gambler) adversely affected by gambling to have access to timely and appropriate assistance and information
- Promote a shared understating between individuals, the broader community, the gambling industry and regulator of responsible gambling practices and an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of all parties
- Ensure gambling providers have safe and supportive environments for the provision of gambling products and services.
Cultural and geographic diversity
The Northern Territory recognises there are cultural and geographic diversities that gambling providers need to respond to in their local community. Consideration should be given to ensuring people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds can access the relevant prevention and protection measures outlined in the Code.
It is also recognised that different geographic areas may have particular needs that, where appropriate, gambling providers will take into account when implementing the Code.
The Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling
This Code includes practices which, when applied, can lead to best practice in the provision of gambling products and services.
While the principles of this Code are intended to apply to all gambling providers, the method of achieving them will vary from venue to venue according to the form of gambling offered.
The Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling will be gazetted under the following legislation and penalties exist for licensees that contravene or fail to comply with the code:
- section 79A of the Gaming Control Act
- section 193A of the Gaming Machine Act
- section 148A of the Racing and Betting Act
- section 28B of the Soccer Football Pools Act.
Gambling providers will be required to demonstrate implementation of the Code to achieve the stated outcomes. Appropriate records corroborating this are required and must be made available periodically as required by the regulator.
Reviewing the Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling
As best practice actions are constantly evolving and changing the Code will be subject to regular reviews in light of new research, technology and business practices.
The reviews will take into account new operating practices, the effectiveness of existing measures, the research and study of gambling in Australia and overseas and other pertinent circumstances.
Responsible Gambling Advisory Committee
The Northern Territory Responsible Gambling Advisory Committee will consist of representatives from government, industry and NGOs. The Committee will develop and provide a responsible gambling manual to assist gambling service providers to meet their obligations under the Code.
Responsible gambling practices
The Code commits gambling service providers to responsible gambling practices with a focus on strong patron protection. Due to the diversity of gambling providers, some of the practices below may not apply to all of them.
Practices have been organised into the following broad categories:
- Provision of Information
- Interaction with Patrons and Community
- Training and Skills Development
- Exclusion provisions
- Physical Environment
- Financial Transactions
- Advertising and Promotions
- Participation in Gambling Research and Evaluation
1. Provision of information
All gambling providers are to make available information that will allow their patrons to make informed decisions about their gambling habits. The information to be displayed includes:
1.1 A Mission Statement that clearly demonstrates the venues commitment to responsible gambling must be displayed at the venue in a location easily accessible by patrons and for those providers with websites, clearly displayed on their home page. Providers of telephone betting services must have in place suitable initiatives to achieve the same outcomes.
1.2 Information relating to the potential risks associated with gambling must be displayed prominently as well as information about where patrons can seek assistance with any gambling issues they may have. The information is to be displayed in all gambling areas plus those locations where an ATM or EFTPOS machine is available.
1.3 Meaningful and accurate information regarding the odds or win rates of major prizes should be clearly displayed in all gambling areas and providers who utilise websites must ensure this information is easily accessible by patrons.
1.4 All gambling providers must make available, when requested, the following types of information for their patrons:
- Responsible Gambling Policy documentation including, where appropriate, policies for addressing problem gambling issues relevant to the local community
- the nature of games, game rules, odds or returns to players for all products offered
- all provisions relating to the Self-Exclusion process
- gambling-related complaint resolution mechanisms and appropriate documentation.
2. Interaction with patrons and community
2.1 Community Liaison. To support early intervention and prevention strategies, gambling providers are to establish:
- appropriate links with gambling support services in the NT and, where applicable, nationally
- link with appropriate community networks where gambling related issues could be raised.
2.2 Community Liaison Officer Role - Commercial gambling providers must appoint a person to:
- be available during approved gaming opening hours
- provide appropriate information and assistance to patrons with gambling related problems
- support other staff in providing assistance to these affected patrons
- provide assistance to any staff that may themselves have gambling related issues.
2.3 Patron Complaints - Resolution mechanisms for recognising and addressing complaints are to be established and promoted by gambling providers. Any complaints concerning breaches of the Code will be directed to the individual provider. It is then the responsibility of that particular gambling provider to ensure that mechanisms are in place to address complaints in a manner that enables any legitimate issue to be dealt with effectively in order to ensure that this Code is upheld and that any breach is rectified as soon as possible.
2.4 Responsible Gambling Records - Gambling providers will ensure they record all actions taken by staff in assisting people in accordance with the Code through a Responsible Gambling Incident Register. The register will need to include the following minimum amount of information:
a) Date, time, location and nature of any event where a patron reports a gambling related issue or complaint.
b) Name and address (or description of person where this information is unavailable) of the person the incident relates to; and
c) The name of the staff member involved and the action they took.
The register should also list those patrons who have chosen to exclude themselves from the venue and include name, address, contact details and the date the exclusion commenced.
Casinos in the NT are not required to keep a register as such but must record any issues in the Log that is filed monthly with the Director-General of Licensing.
3. Training and skills development
3.1 New Staff - All new staff, engaged in the provision of gambling services, must complete appropriate gambling training within three (3) months of commencing employment. This should include training that will allow all relevant staff to identify and respond to ‘Red Flag’ behaviours as well as general information in relation to gambling and gambling products offered by the venue.
3.2 On-going Training - Gambling providers operating electornic gaming machines are to ensure current gaming staff partake in refresher training (approved by the Director General of Licensing) annually regarding harm minimisation strategies to enable the ongoing provision of a responsible gambling environment. Gambling providers not operating electronic gaming machines must undertake the training biannually.
3.3 Licensees and Managers – are to participate in appropriate training at least once every five years to guide decision making in relation to responsible gambling practices and environment.
3.4 Record of Training - A Gambling Training Register is to be maintained and kept as a part of responsible gambling records. This register should include staff name, date of training and type of training. A copy of this register should be provided to the Director-General on request.
4. Exclusion provisions
Gambling providers are to make available the option of patrons excluding themselves from the gambling venue or site to patrons who feel they are developing a problem with gambling.
4.1 Patron Responsibility - Gambling patrons will be encouraged to take responsibility for their gambling activity.
4.2 Self-Exclusion Procedures - All commercial gambling providers must use the generic form of self-exclusion which has been developed for use by Northern Territory gambling providers. This is available on the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice website (Note: casinos have specific provisions in place). Procedures with clear, supporting documentation are to be implemented and application forms for self-exclusion must be available at Reception, within the gambling area, adjacent to the gambling products or/and on the website.
4.3 Completed Self-Exclusion Forms - Management, Community Liaison Officer and/or security staff of the gambling provider are to be supplied with the completed self-exclusion forms together with a photo of the relevant person. These forms will include the stated wish of the patron to be reminded of their desire to be excluded from the specified gambling provider. Details will also be entered in the Responsible Gambling Incident Register.
4.4 Counselling Contact Information - gambling providers are to offer patrons who seek self-exclusion and/or express a concern that they have a gambling problem, contact information for appropriate counselling agencies.
4.5 Self-Exclusion from Other Gambling Providers. Self-exclusion gambling patrons are to be given support and encouragement in seeking self-exclusions from other gambling providers.
4.6 Correspondence or Promotional Material - all gambling providers are not to send correspondence or promotional material to gambling customers who are excluded from their services or who request that this information not be sent to them.
4.7 Licensee Exclusion - all gambling providers operating electronic gaming machines will have adequate procedures in place to exclude patrons in accordance with section 112 of the Gaming Machine Act.
5. Physical environment
A gambling provider must maintain a safe environment to protect the interests of gamblers themselves, their friends and family, and a physical environment that is consistent with responsible gambling.
5.1 Passage of Time - Gambling providers will implement practices to ensure that customers are made aware of the passage of time - eg: clearly visible clocks in the vicinity of cash cages, automatic teller machines and coin dispensers, together with natural lighting where possible. Where gaming machines incorporate a clock, it must display the correct time.
5.2 Intoxicated Customers - Customers who are intoxicated are to be prevented from gambling and removed from the premises as per the requirements under the Liquor Act.
5.3 Child Care Facilities - Where gambling providers offer child care facilities, these facilities must recognise all child care legislation and staff overseeing the facility must be appropriately accredited. The facility should be set up so that children cannot see gambling activities taking place.
5.4 Procedures to Check Venues and Car Parks - Where Gambling providers, where offer patrons a car park, as opposed to a general public car park; practical, they will adopt procedures to check car parks under their control with the aim of reducing the risk of children being left unattended.
All gambling providers are to adopt appropriate strategies to ensure minors are prohibited from gambling and not induced to gamble.
6.1 Prohibition of Minors - Minors are prohibited from gambling and gambling providers will check the identification of any person whom they have reason to believe might be less than 18 years of age.
6.2 Activities for Minors - Activities run by gambling providers for minors must not promote any aspect of gambling and should not be conducted in close proximity to gambling activities.
6.3 Minors as staff members - Where legislated minors are not permitted to work in gambling activities and where no legislation is applicable, gambling product providers are discouraged from allowing minors to sell NT Keno and lottery products.
7. Financial transactions
Financial transactions associated with gambling are to be undertaken in a responsible manner, which includes such factors as the location and operation of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), the provision of credit or granting loans for the purpose of gambling, and the cashing of cheques.
7.1 Signage - ATMs will carry or have within close sight of them problem gambling warning signage and appropriate support service contact details in a manner clearly visible to customers.
7.2 Location - ATMs must not be located within designated gaming areas and where safe and practicable, not in the entry to gaming areas. They must not be located within sight of the gaming areas.
7.3 ATM and EFTPOS Facilities will have access only to debit accounts; access to credit accounts will not be permitted.
7.4 Credit and Money Lending - all gambling providers, with the exception of bookmakers, are not to provide credit or lend money to anyone for the purpose of gambling.
7.5 Cashing of Cheques, whether personal or third party, on the gambling provider’s licensed premises for the sole purpose of gambling is forbidden.
7.6 Payment of winnings - all gambling providers are to pay by cheque winnings in excess of $500 or where offered, electronic transfer. Cheques provided for gambling winnings should not be cashed within 24 hours of the win.
Northern Territory casino licensees will not be required to comply with items 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6. These issues will be addressed by the Casino Operator Agreements and Directions.
8. Advertising and promotions
Advertising and promotions are to be delivered in an honest and responsible manner with consideration given to the potential impact on people adversely affected by gambling.
8.1 Compliance with the Advertising Code of Ethics - Advertisements must comply with the Advertising Code of Ethics as adopted by the Australian Association of National Advertisers or the Advertising Federation of Australia. Any television advertising and promotion must also comply with the Federation of Commercial Television Stations (FACTS) Code of Practice.
8.2 Return to Player - Advertising, marketing and promotions must accurately detail prizes on offer and the game results available.
8.3 Accurate Details - Advertising, marketing and promotions must accurately detail prizes on offer and the game results available.
8.4 False Impressions - No advertising produced by any gambling provider is to give the impression that gambling is a reasonable strategy for financial betterment, i.e. advertisements should centre on entertainment purposes
8.5 Minors - Advertising displays and point of sale material for gambling products must not be directed at minors, portray minors participating in gambling, or be set up in an area specifically to target minors.
8.6 Problem Gambling Signage - Advertising displays at the point of sale are to have on or within sight of them appropriate problem gambling warning signage in a clearly visible manner.
8.7 Notices of Winnings Paid - Advertising of individuals’ winnings paid should only be displayed within the gambling provider’s premises and not externally in public spaces. Personal particulars of winners are only to be published with their consent
8.8 Urging to Buy - Gambling providers are not to verbally urge non-gambling customers to buy gambling products.
8.9 Alcohol Consumption - The gambling provider will ensure no advertising depicts or promotes the consumption of alcohol while engaged in gambling activities.
9. Participation in Gambling Research and Evaluation
All commercial gambling venues have a social responsibility to participate in research and evaluation activities associated with gambling. Gambling Service Providers are encouraged to participate in all gambling research projects endorsed by the Director General of Licensing.
The gambling provider must maintain the privacy of player information and must ensure, as far as possible, that there is no unauthorised or inappropriate disclosure of personal information obtained or kept under this Code of Practice.