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24 October 2018

Games of chance and competitions

New laws for community gaming

The NSW Government has passed changes to community gaming laws to cut red tape for organisations fundraising in NSW and for businesses undertaking trade promotions.

Many charities rely on the funds raised through ‘games of chance’ (a game where the winner is random) to carry out their charitable work. For example, raffles are a significant source of fundraising in schools and sporting clubs.

Likewise, trade promotions are a key tool for New South Wales businesses to market their products and gain customers.

Legislation must provide the appropriate level of governance so that the community has confidence in the regulatory regime and remains willing to participate.

The Community Gaming Bill 2018 will replace the Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901, which has been in operation for over a century.

The new laws are designed to make it easier to understand the requirements when running games of chance, ensuring the continued effective operation of these important community activities.

The new laws also ensure that all community games and trade promotions are run fairly and funds / prizes are distributed as promised.

NSW Fair Trading will also be able to issue penalty notices to those who break the law. Serious breaches will still go before the courts.

When the rules of the games need to change more regularly with advancing technology and new ways of playing these games, the proposed legislation allows it to be done in a much more responsive and timely way.

What’s happened so far

The Community Gaming Bill 2018 was introduced to NSW Parliament in September 2018 and passed on 17 October 2018.

NSW Fair Trading took over the administration of the Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901 from Liquor and Gaming NSW on 1 January 2018.

During 2016-17, Liquor & Gaming NSW undertook a review of the Act. During consultation of the Act, stakeholders raised concerns that the legislation was difficult to interpret and understand, and created unnecessary regulatory burden.

Since the transfer, NSW Fair Trading has undertaken targeted consultation with key industry stakeholders to better understand the needs of industry and discuss the proposed changes to the Act.

Next steps

A draft regulation and Regulatory Impact Statement will be prepared and distributed for public consultation.

Industry will be given information and time to adjust to the new requirements before they commence.

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