Gambling codes of practice

NT Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling 2022

Preamble

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. This can result in problems for themselves, their families, their employer and the community.

The Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling aims to minimise these harms through the creation of responsible gambling environments, in line with best practice and community expectations.

It sets out the minimum requirements to reduce harms associated with problem gambling for support services, Northern Territory (NT) gambling providers and their staff.

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.

This occurs through the actions and ownership by individuals, communities, support services, the regulator and the gambling industry to achieve socially acceptable outcomes.

What is problem gambling

In the Menzies School of Health Research 2018 gambling prevalence and wellbeing survey report, 1.9% of 1 in 52 gamblers experienced problem gambling.

It stated that the NT has the highest rates of problem gambling as well as moderate risk and low-risk problem gambling, compared to the most recent estimates from other Australian jurisdictions.

Problem gambling is characterised by difficulties in limiting money and time spent on gambling. It can lead to negative impacts for the gambler, their family, friends and employer, and the community.

These negative impacts may include:

  • excessive financial losses relative to the gambler’s income
  • adverse personal effects on the gambler, family, friends and work colleagues as well as the community
  • adverse physical and mental health issues
  • negative impacts on work performance
  • legal problems.

However, negative impacts can run much deeper.

From a personal perspective, a problem gambler may experience:

  • stress
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • poor health
  • thoughts of suicide and sometimes attempts
  • isolation from family and friends
  • bankruptcy
  • theft, fraud and other crimes.

From the family and friends perspective, 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.

Expected outcomes

The code has been established to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. minimise the extent of gambling-related harm to individuals and the broader community
  2. enable people to make informed decisions about their gambling activities
  3. enable people (not just the gambler) affected by gambling to have access to timely and appropriate assistance and information
  4. promote a shared understanding between individuals, the community, the gambling industry and regulator of responsible gambling practices and an awareness of the rights and responsibilities of all parties
  5. ensure gambling providers have safe and supportive environments for the provision of gambling products and services.

The Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling

This code includes practices that can lead to best practice in the provision of gambling products and services.

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.

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 may be gazetted under the following legislation and penalties exist for licensees that contravene or fail to comply with the code:

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.

All gambling providers are to make available information that will allow their patrons to make informed decisions about their gambling habits, and promote responsible gambling messages.

The information that must be displayed includes the following.

1.1 The venues commitment to responsible gambling displayed in gaming areas and on ATM’s. For those providers with websites, messages must be clearly displayed on their gambling-related pages.

1.2 Meaningful and accurate information regarding the odds or win rates of major prizes should be clearly displayed in all gambling areas.

1.3 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 multi-venue self-exclusion process
  • gambling-related complaint resolution mechanisms and appropriate documentation.

To support early intervention and prevention strategies, gambling providers and gambling support services are encouraged to establish appropriate links in the NT.

2.1 Gaming machine managers:

  • must 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.

2.2 Patron complaints: venues must have a complaints process in place to deal with any issues raised by patrons. In the process, venues and their staff must ensure the code is upheld and that any breach is rectified as soon as possible.

2.3 Incident records: gambling providers must ensure they record all actions taken by staff in assisting people in accordance with the code through a venue’s incident register. The register will need to include the following minimum amount of information:

  • date, time, location and nature of any event where a patron reports a gambling related issue or complaint
  • name and address (or description of person where this information is unavailable) of the person the incident relates to
  • the name of the staff member involved and the action they took.

NT casinos licensees will not be required to keep a register, but must record any issues in the monthly log submitted to the director of gaming control.

A licensee must ensure that every employee whose responsibilities involve the provision or supervision of gambling services has completed the following training.

3.1 New staff: all new staff engaged in the provision of gambling services, must complete the nationally accredited unit of competency ‘SITHGAM001 – Provide Responsible Gambling Services’ within 3 months of commencing employment.

3.2 Responsible service of gambling refresher training: all staff engaged in the provision of gambling services, must undertake the approved refresher training’ in accordance with the schedule determined by the director of gaming control.

Read more about the schedule and all approved refresher training for gaming staff.

3.3 Record of training: records relating to the staff’s training as set out above should be maintained and kept as a part of the 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 authorised inspectors on request.

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 and adherence to any exclusion deeds they enter into.

4.2 Multi-venue self-exclusion procedures: all commercial gambling providers must be registered for the NT’s multi-venue self-exclusions system or have available the paper-based self-exclusion form. Procedures with clear, supporting documentation are to be implemented and all staff need to be aware of a venue’s self-exclusion procedures.

4.3 Online notification and completed self-exclusion forms: management, gaming machine managers and security staff of the gambling provider are to make themselves aware of notifications of online self-exclusion and completed self-exclusion forms.

4.4 Counselling contact information: gambling providers are to offer patrons who seek all kinds of self-exclusion and express a concern that they have a gambling problem, contact information for appropriate counselling agencies.

4.5 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.

4.6 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 1995.

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, for instance:

  • clearly visible clocks in the vicinity of cash cages displaying the correct time, 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 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.

5.3 Check venues and car parks: where venues offer patrons a car park (as opposed to a general public car park), the venue will 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 strictly prohibited from declared gambling areas within a licensed premise. This area is be clearly marked and separated from the general amenities. Venues shall ensure signage is placed in a prominent position at each entrance to the approved gaming areas.

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: persons under 18 years are not to be employed in any capacity in relation to the operation of gaming machines. Where no legislation is applicable, gambling product providers are discouraged from allowing minors to sell NT Keno and lottery products.

6.4 Advertising: any 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.

Financial transactions associated with gambling are to be undertaken in a responsible manner.

7.1 Signage: ATMs will carry or have within close sight of them responsible gambling messages in a manner clearly visible to customers.

7.2 Location: ATMs must not be located within gaming areas and where safe and practicable, not in the entry to gaming areas or within sight of the gaming areas.

7.3 ATMs: ATM 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  Payment of winnings: all gambling providers are to pay by electronic transfer or cheque when the winnings exceed the prescribed amount in 27(4)(b) of the Gaming Machine Regulations 1995. Electronic transfers should not be processed within 24 hours. Cheques provided for gambling winnings should not be cashed within 24 hours of the win.

7.6 Cashing of cheques, whether personal or third party, on the gambling provider’s licensed premises for the sole purpose of gambling is forbidden.

NT casino licensees will not be required to comply with items 7.4 and 7.5. These issues will be addressed by the casino operator agreements and directions.

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: all advertisements must comply with the relevant legislation eg. advertising code of ethics, Federation of Commercial Television Stations (FACTS) code of practice.

8.2 Accurate details: advertising, marketing and promotions must accurately detail prizes on offer and the game results available.

8.3 Inducement to gamble: no advertising should promote gaming in any manner, which, in the opinion of the director of gaming control is an ‘inducement to engage in gaming’ including:

  • the offer of transportation conditional of gaming
  • the offer of free or discounted accommodation, meals, refreshments, liquor or other amenities to be supplied to persons who engage in gaming
  • the offer of jackpots or other prizes and gifts that are not available to a person in the normal course of playing a gaming machine
  • false Impressions - no advertising produced by any gambling provider is to give the impression that gambling is a reasonable strategy for financial betterment eg. advertisements should centre on entertainment purposes.

8.4 Gaming advertising material: any advertising material on the exterior of licensed premises shall be restricted to a statement that the premises has gaming machines only. This advertising should not be dominant advertisement on the premises.

8.5 Problem gambling signage: all gaming advertising material displays are to have appropriate responsible gambling messaging in a clearly visible manner.

8.6 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 including online. Personal particulars of winners are only to be published with their consent

8.7 Alcohol consumption - the gambling provider will ensure no advertising depicts or promotes the irresponsible consumption of alcohol while engaged in gambling activities.

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 of gaming control.

The gambling provider must maintain the privacy of player information and must ensure that there is no unauthorised or inappropriate disclosure of personal information obtained or kept under this code.

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Last updated: 08 August 2022

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