Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New Productivity Commission inquiry into gambling

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Assistant Treasurer Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs

The Australian Government today released the timetable and terms of reference for the Productivity Commission’s update to its 1999 inquiry into Australia’s gambling industries.

The inquiry will commence on 24 November 2008, with the Commission expected to provide a draft by mid-2009 and a final report before the end of next year.

Ms Macklin said it was important for the Commission to investigate problem gambling nearly a decade after its report on the industry in 1999.

“Problem gambling wrecks lives. For people who are addicted, gambling is a dangerous, damaging drug that hurts, not just gamblers, but also family, friends and workplaces,” Ms Macklin said.

“The Government is determined to tackle problem gambling. That’s why the Government has re-convened the Ministerial Council on Gambling and requested an update to the Productivity Commission’s 1999 gambling inquiry.”

There have been many changes to the gambling environment over the last decade, including the growth of internet and sports betting.

The regulatory landscape has changed considerably since the 1999 report. State and Territory Governments have introduced a wide range of measures to address the concerns raised in the original Productivity Commission inquiry.

This includes a ban on credit gambling, limitations on access to cash and ensuring players have accurate information on the odds of winning.

The Australian Government also released a National Snapshot of Harm Minimisation Strategies in Australia.

The snapshot was developed by the Ministerial Council on Gambling and contains up-to-date information, on a state-by-state basis, of measures to protect people from the dangers of gambling.

Mr Bowen said the new inquiry would be beneficial for all levels of government.

“The inquiry will help shape government action to tackle problem gambling,” Mr Bowen said.

“It will inform policy responses to minimise the prevalence of problem gambling in Australia.

“The Commission will have the scope to provide additional research into the impacts of harm minimisation measures and how effective they are in countering problem gambling.”

There is widespread support for the inquiry from industry representatives and problem gambling groups.

The gambling industry and those affected by gambling are encouraged to contact the Commission for information on contributing to the inquiry process.

National Snapshot of Harm Minimisation Measures in Australia contains the most recent information on State and Territory regulatory frameworks and will be updated regularly. It can be viewed at A National Snapshot of Harm Minimisation Strategies

Productivity Commission Inquiry into Australia’s Gambling Industries, 2008

Terms of Reference

  1. the nature and definition of gambling and the range of activities incorporated within this definition;
  2. the participation profile of gambling, including problem gamblers and those at risk of problem gambling;
  3. the economic impacts of the gambling industries, including industry size, growth, employment, organisation and interrelationships with other industries such as tourism, leisure, other entertainment and retailing;
  4. the social impacts of the gambling industries, the incidence of gambling abuse, the cost and nature of welfare support services of government and non-government organisations necessary to address it;
  5. the contribution of gambling revenue on community development activity and employment;
  6. the effects of the regulatory structures – including licensing arrangements, entry and advertising restrictions, application of the mutuality principle and differing taxation arrangements – governing the gambling industries, including the implications of differing approaches for industry development and consumers;
  7. the implications of new technologies (such as the internet), including the effect on traditional government controls on the gambling industries;
  8. the impact of gambling on Commonwealth, State and Territory Budgets;
  9. Assessment of Harm Minimisation Measures since 1999
  10. the impact that the introduction of harm minimisation measures at gambling venues has had on the prevalence of problem gambling and on those at risk; and
  11. evaluate the effectiveness success of these harm minimisation measures used by the State and Territory Governments.