At the Bookmakers Forum held in Darwin on 1 August 2014 it was agreed that three principal matters needed to be addressed.
1. Licence terms and conditions
The Northern Territory Racing Commission and the Department of Business committed to prepare revised licence terms and conditions for issue to licensed sports bookmakers. The revised terms and conditions will incorporate changes agreed to following the 2013 Bookmakers Forum as previously circulated.
Additionally, the Commission has also agreed to allow cloud technology to be utilised in the conduct of sports bookmakers businesses. This adapting to modern technology makes redundant previous licence conditions requiring that all data bases and servers are located in the Northern Territory.
The Department of Business will assist the Commission in the preparation of contemporary licence terms and conditions for circulation in draft form to bookmakers who will be afforded 28 days to comment. It is expected this will occur by December 2014. Once approved by the Commission, the new licence terms and conditions will be issued immediately.
New licences issued will operate from 1 July 2015 and will be operative for a five year period. The process for renewal will involve updated probity, systems assessment and the provision of ongoing financial viability information.
2. Code of practice for responsible gambling
The Commission and the Department of Business, with support of sports bookmakers, are committed to the development of a new Northern Territory Code of Practice for Responsible Gambling applicable to online gambling. The code will address matters of relevance and be applicable to the regulation of NT licensed sports bookmakers and detail responsibilities in the identification and treatment of suspected problem gamblers.
Work on framing a new code will commence immediately and this will involve a consultation period with a draft discussion code available in early 2015.
3. Racing and Betting Act
All parties at the forum identified the need for updated and relevant legislation to apply to the licensing and regulation of sports bookmakers. The Department of Business is in discussion with the NT Government over drafting new legislation.
The need for a more modern and relevant legislative framework is recognised by Government although a time frame for the preparation and passage of legislation is yet to be established but is recognised by the department as a priority.