Mandatory pre-commitment: New twist in Australian gambling law

Sweeping proposals for “mandatory pre-commitment” at Australian casinos may be gaining steam in the popular imagination, but experts at the Gaming, Racing and Wagering Australia conference last week reckon that the law “is unlikely to be put into effect in Australia for at least several more years because of the technological obstacles which must first be overcome.”

Queensland has experimented with the mandatory pre-commitment concept, which forces the would-be player at a casino to cap his/her own spending limit before beginning play. The Australian Capital Territory will be the first to institute a trial of the idea. Another proposal before the Australian parliament would limit betting on slots to Au$1 per spin and a top jackpot of Au$500.

Gaming Technologies Association CEO Ross Ferrer pointed out that despite varying bet limits in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand appear to have no effect on the amount of problem gambling. Meanwhile, online gambling revenues total about US$1 billion per year out of Australia; “This money is leaving Australia and that does not make sense,” stated Ferrer.

And while the Australian Capital Territory will implement mandatory pre-commitment, technological problems are already cropping up. For example, for the system to work, all machines in Canberra casinos would have to be converted to be network-friendly, an upgrade which has not happened. While the trial of the pre-commitment system was originally scheduled for February 2012, it seems 2014 is currently a better bet.

A panel of experts and industry leaders at the Gaming, Racing and Wagering Australia conference held in Sydney last week find that the mandatory pre-commitment proposal will be difficult to implement any time in the near future.
On the to-be-tested mandatory pre-commitment casino law in Australia