I am pleased to present the Gaming and Wagering Commission of Western Australia’s (the Commission’s) Annual Report for 2020-21. The Annual Report describes outcomes achieved by the Commission relating to the administration of the law relating
to gaming and wagering in Western Australia (WA), in what has been a dynamic year.
On 4 September 2019, Parliament passed the TAB (Disposal) Bill 2019, providing the establishment of a new wagering licensing regime for a private TAB operator and the corresponding disposal of the wagering business operated by Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA). The sale process was well progressed prior to the onset of COVID-19, but was suspended due the pandemic. In anticipation of the recommencement of the sale process, the Commission and staff from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) continued to consider legislative amendments relative to the proposed sale of the WA TAB.
The Australian casino industry has come under close scrutiny during the 2020-21 reporting period with the establishment of Inquiries and/or Royal Commissions in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and WA.
The findings of the NSW Casino Inquiry, tabled in parliament on the 9 February 2021, have informed the Commission’s consideration of a range of reforms to its regulatory frameworks to improve the effectiveness of its regulatory operations relative to gambling regulation matters highlighted by the NSW Casino Inquiry. Similarly, the Commission has carefully followed the Victorian Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence that was underway during the reporting period.
In February 2021, the WA Government initiated a review into the operations of the Crown Perth Casino and the WA casino regulatory framework. On 12 March 2021, the Perth Casino Royal Commission (PCRC) was established to inquire into the affairs of the Crown Casino Perth and the suitability of the WA regulatory framework. On 30 June 2021, the PCRC delivered its Interim Report and the Commission consequently began to progress recommended governance initiatives.
DLGSC has implemented a new interim structure to strengthen governance arrangements and enhance the senior leadership team, through the establishment of two Deputy Director General roles; the introduction of a dedicated Executive Director for Racing,
Gaming and Liquor Regulation, to oversee and enhance DLGSC’s regulation of these sectors; and a General Manager to support the Commission, with a focus on establishing contemporary governance and supporting delivery frameworks. On 2 June
2021, the Commission met to develop a strategic plan for reform regarding its governance and work program.
During the reporting period the Commission continued to regulate gaming and wagering in Western Australia by issuing a significant number of licences and permits and undertaking an audit, investigation and inspection program.
The Problem Gambling Support Services Committee agreed to develop a contemporary harm minimisation policy model and to fund a research project into the extent and nature of problem gambling in WA.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members, including the Commission’s outgoing chairperson Mr Duncan Ord OAM, and member Ms Colleen Hayward for their contribution to the operation of the Commission throughout the year, as well as DLGSC staff for their ongoing support.
The Commission anticipates that next year will be dedicated to giving effect to the recommendations of the PCRC, and will involve a number of significant reforms to ensure that the regulation of gaming and wagering in WA is best practice.
The Gaming and Wagering Commission of WA (the Commission) met on 12 occasions during the reporting period to consider a range of issues relative to the racing and wagering, community gaming, and casino operations and gaming.
Over 1800 community gaming permits were issued resulting in a gross amount of more than $103.8 million being raised by permit holders. Following the deduction of event expenses, a net amount of approximately $52.9 million was returned to beneficiary organisations.
During the year, more than 6000 inspection or audits were conducted on behalf of the Commission across the regulated areas. Audits and inspections are an important opportunity to assess licensee or permit holder compliance with the conditions applicable to their particular permit or licence, and provide education as required.
The audits and inspections continued to show a high level of compliance with permit and licence conditions with only 55 cautions and 18 infringements issued over the reporting period.
On behalf of the WA racing industry, the Commission collects a product fee from wagering operators nationally who use WA race fields as part of their operations. This product fee is remitted to Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) on a monthly basis for distribution to registered WA racing clubs. Betting on racing for the reporting period resulted in an increase to levy paid of $31.2 million. In total, the Commission has remitted $659 million in racing bets levy to RWWA.
The Gaming and Wagering Commission of WA is established as a statutory authority under section 4 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987.
As at 30 June 2021, the Minister responsible for the Racing and Gaming portfolio was the Honourable Reece Whitby, MLA, Minister for Emergency Services; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; Volunteering.
The Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987 establishes the Commission to control and regulate gambling, and provides the regulatory framework enabling permitted gambling. Permitted gambling includes the parameters under which general gambling is permitted to occur, as well as social gambling, permitted two up, gambling machines and devices, permitted Bingo, lotteries and amusements with prizes.
The main duties of the Commission are to:
Online gambling in Australia is currently subject to the requirements of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth). The Commission is aware of concerns regarding the availability of online gambling and is exploring the extent to which it has a role in regulating online gambling.
The Gaming and Wagering Commission is responsible for administering the following legislation:
In the performance of its functions, the Gaming and Wagering Commission of WA complies with the following relevant written laws:
Broad government goals are supported by the Commission by specific outcomes, and the Commission administers delivery of these services to achieve these outcomes. The following illustrates the relationship between the Commission’s services and desired outcomes, and the goals of government.
Responsible financial management and better service delivery.
Provision of lawful gambling activities for the benefit of the public of WA.
Services delivered are:
The Gaming and Wagering Commission of WA did not share any responsibilities with other agencies during the reporting period.
Section 12 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987 (the Act) provides that membership of the Commission shall comprise:
A member, other than the ex officio member, shall hold office for such period not exceeding three years, as specified in the instrument of appointment, but is eligible for reappointment.
A person who is, or has been, a member of the Commission is not personally liable for any act done or omitted in good faith by the Commission or by that person acting as a member.
Section 12 of the Act provides for the Minister to appoint a person in DLGSC to be the Deputy Chairperson for occasions when the Chairperson is absent.
During the reporting period, the members of the Gaming and Wagering Commission of WA were:
Lanie Chopping is interim Director General of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. She has extensive experience in regulatory and citizen-focused roles across WA’s public sector. Lanie was formally the Commissioner for Consumer Protection and the Acting Executive Director for Consumer Protection at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. Lanie has also held senior positions at the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, the Economic Regulation Authority, and the West Australian Council of Social Service.
Ms Katie Hodson-Thomas currently works as a Director of FTI Consulting and is a registered lobbyist in WA. Katie has been a state member of WA Parliament Legislative Assembly for 12 years, possesses strong listening, negotiation and advocacy skills. Katie was previously a member of the Commission from 2011 to 2012 and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).
Ms Meadows has been a member of the Gaming and Wagering Commission of WA since August 2018. She has over 30 years of experience in corporate and financial governance. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) as well as a member of the AICD's 2018 Director Pipeline Program. Ms Meadows currently sits on the Boards of GolfWA, 1ICT Pty Ltd and G10 Consulting Pty Ltd and the general council of HBF Inc. Ms Meadows holds a Bachelor of Commerce from UWA, has 18 years of experience as a chief financial officer and has been a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand for almost 30 years. She has a comprehensive working knowledge of the rules of gaming and wagering, and is deeply committed to addressing the issue of problem gambling.
Ms Carmelina Fiorentino has over 25-years experience specialising in finance, governance and business improvement, including finance executive experience with Lotterywest, innovation start-ups, property, tertiary education, and government trading sectors. Carmelina leads the business advisory team at Business Foundations, and is currently on the board of Fremantle Port Authority, having previously served on several boards in the arts, education and community sectors. Carmelina is qualified as a Fellow Chartered Accountant, has an MBA with Distinction, Bachelor of Commerce, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).
Ms Matilda Prowse currently works for the Australian Red Cross. Matilda has over 25 years experience working in the public and not-for-profit sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom. She also runs her own consultancy business. Matilda is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).
Mr Barry Sargeant was the Director General of the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor from 1992 until June 2017, and as Director General, was the ex-officio chairperson of the Commission. Barry has over 25 years experience in regulation of the liquor and gambling industries in WA.
Mr Steve Dobson is a director of a financial planning business, Chair of the Small Business Development Corporation of WA, and holds board member positions with several community groups. A former police officer, his qualifications include an MBA from Murdoch University, a Bachelor of Business, and graduate membership of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).
Duncan Ord was the Director General of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries until his retirement in 2021. Duncan has worked in government in areas of culture and arts, education, training, planning and Aboriginal Affairs. Previous roles in private industry include dean of the School of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and general manager of the WA Theatre Company and Black Swan Theatre. Duncan has been chair of the arts, sports and recreation industry training council, member of boards and committees of the Australia Council and a consultant to local government on arts infrastructure projects. In 2013 Duncan was the recipient of an Order of Australia Medal and is also a past winner of the Churchill Fellowship.
Professor Colleen Hayward has more than 30 years experience in providing input to policies and programs on a wide range of issues reflecting the needs of minority groups. Colleen is currently Edith Cowan University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equity and Indigenous issues across the university.
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