March 7, 2024 3 min read


Australia: NT Government Plans Changes to Gambling Regulations

While the local government asked for the opinion of all licensed gambling operators, it only requested feedback from a single gambling treatment organization

Currently, gambling is identified as a serious public health issue across Australia. Each month, hundreds of millions of Australian dollars are lost to gambling, making the yearly losses billions. While gambling is widely spread across the country, the government anticipates changes to the vertical that seek to curb problem and excessive gambling and restrict losses to gambling activities.

Just like in other parts of Australia, the Northern Territory (NT) government is also making an effort into improving its gambling regulations. The multi-billion-dollar online gambling industry needs an effective regulatory framework to reduce problem gambling. And while there are nearly three dozen licensed operators who participated in consultations with the NT government, only a single gambling treatment and support group was invited to the discussions, The Guardian reported recently.

The talks resulted in the release of the Racing and Wagering Act 2024, a proposal introduced last month that will seek approval from the local government. The drafted proposal seeks to change the gambling regulation, reducing harm and increasing the penalties for violations of the rules.

However, not everyone agrees that the NT government’s proposal can achieve that goal. The Alliance for Gambling Reform, a national advocacy organization that seeks to prevent and reduce gambling harm, criticized the consultation process for the newly tabled Racing and Wagering Act 2024. The organization’s chief executive, Carol Bennett, supported the idea of the regulation of gambling on a federal level, urging the national government to take over the control of the sector from the NT government.

This is way beyond their remit and this is something the federal government should be stepping in to take control of immediately. They are way out of their depth.

Carol Bennett, chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform

The Government Remains Committed to Reforming the Gambling Rules

A spokesperson for the NT government responded on the topic, explaining that the overhaul of the sector reaffirms the government’s dedication to reducing gambling harm by introducing different measures and increasing the penalties for operators who breach the established rules.

Despite the NT government’s position, the initial proposal called for an increase in the maximum fines with 10,000 penalty units. This change would have boosted the maximum fine up to AU$1.75 million ($1.16 million). However, after further consultations, the proposal ended up reducing the proposed penalty increase by 75%. This otherwise means that the maximum fines under the new proposal increased by only 2,500 penalty units to a maximum of AU$445,000 ($294,000).

Another concern raised by the Alliance for Gambling Reform was that the NT government asked all 28 licensed gambling operators for their opinion but did not engage with gambling treatment centers, researchers or regulators outside of the jurisdiction. As noted, the NT government reached out to a single gambling support group before introducing the drafted proposal.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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