Credit: istock/GoodLifeStudio

The ACT government has commenced a four-week market sounding to gather information about whether a central monitoring system (CMS) can help reduce gambling harm.

The market sounding, which commenced on 14 March, aims to identify if a CMS could be used to connect all poker machines in the territory to monitor their operation and allow the consistent rollout of harm reduction initiatives, such as bet limits or loss limits.

“The ACT government is firmly committed to reducing harm from gambling. A central monitoring system offers substantial potential to implement national-leading measures to limit gambling losses and improve self-exclusion,” according to ACT Minister for Gambling Shane Rattenbury.

“A CMS would connect all poker machines in the ACT and provide the capability to control and monitor their operation.”

Rattenbury listed some of the specific harm reduction measures and other capabilities that a CMS could be used for include linking a universal player card to all electronic gaming machines across all venues to support a more effective self-exclusion system; cashless gaming accompanied by harm reduction measures, such as pre-commitment and loss limits; monitoring of criminal activities such as money laundering; and improving data collection to inform harm reduction policy, and improving reporting and transparency of gambling losses.

The market sounding for a CMS comes off the back of the government’s 2022 discussion paper that identified a CMS as the most viable approach to achieve a reduction in gaming harm.

“The ACT needs additional measures to reduce the harm cause by gambling. We’re currently the only jurisdiction without a CMS in place,” Rattenbury said.  

“We need to get the measures in place that will allow best practice harm reduction – for example, a loss-limit scheme similar to the Tasmanian government’s which prevents players losing more than set amounts.”

Rattenbury said following the market sounding results, the ACT government will “swiftly consider the next steps to take in this area”.

According to the ACT government, the market sounding is purely a research initiative, reassuring it will not directly lead to the procurement of a system, as no final decision has been made to implement a CMS.

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