The Northern Territory (NT) Government, which regulates Australia’s $50 billion online wagering industry, has faced criticism for its consultation process in drafting the new Racing and Wagering Act 2024. While the government sought feedback from all 28 online gambling companies licensed in the NT, including international giants Bet365 and Sportsbet, only one harm reduction group was consulted.

Under the provisions of the Racing and Wagering Act 2024, Eva Lawler, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, would have the authority to oversee the actions and responsibilities of the gambling regulator and its director.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has criticised the closed consultation process for the draft bill governing the $50bn industry, alleging that the territory lacks the necessary expertise to handle such a complex matter.

The proposed legislation, which may be voted on soon, would enable the chief minister to instruct the NT gambling regulator and its director in their duties. The government initially proposed increasing maximum fines to 10,000 penalty units, equivalent to approximately $1.75 million, but later reduced the cap by 75 percent to about $445,000 in the bill.

Some critics have accused the Northern Territory (NT) government of being inexperienced and hindering efforts to establish a national regulator, as recommended by a federal parliamentary inquiry. However, the government defended the legislation, stating that it would align maximum fines with those in other jurisdictions. Critics have long argued that the fines were too low to have any significant regulatory impact.

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