Current Regulations Useless?

Added: November 13, 2014

Or so concludes a new paper by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). As you know, the ANZSOG is a premier educational institution that teaches the very best in strategic management as well as high-level policy specifically for public sector leaders. Thus, when the ANZSOG releases a study on the supposed ineffectiveness of current regulations naturally everyone wants to know what this is all about.

In short, this is about the current approach Australia uses to regulate so-called problem gambling. According to the ANZSOG, the methodology currently employed has little to no effect. Interestingly, the ANZSOG released this new study while there are two new trends showing up in Australia.

First is the move by Queensland. In an effort that is being promoted as “cutting out excess red tape”, Queensland is actually removing gambling regulation. Although the language of these changes specifically address poker machines, the overall impact is expected to have a much larger impact. Here’s why: the new changes will allow the installation of additional electronic gaming machines (EGMs) as well as the opportunity for existing operators to expand regardless of the original community of interest as the earlier rules stipulated.

At the same time, a new and some would say timely decision by the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal is all about the expansion of pokies. This move will allow a greater number of pokies to be setup in Braybrook.

Anyway, the point of the ANZSOG paper is attempting to make is that the current protections in place to address problem gambling just don’t do the job. That is, they are ineffective at best. The term used by the ANZSOG is harm minimization.

Although most often associated with public health issues, in this case harm minimization is about protecting the so-called problem gamblers that are found in any population. The ANZSOG paper makes the case that they evidence they analyzed suggested that external interventions are more effective than the voluntary measures. As of now, the most popular harm minimization strategy employed throughout Australia are voluntary measures. These voluntary harm minimization strategies include such things as self-exclusion and specialized signage.

Yeah, okay. Are your eyeballs bleeding yet? Only an academic would talk like that. The point is that gambling, both online and offline is expanding throughout Australia. Whether it’s an online pokie or an offshore sports betting venue, more and more Australians are enjoying the action. Hopefully, the findings by the ANZSOG can be used to protect those that need protecting while not restricting the rest of the population.