Home » NT gambling laws are being overhauled. Here’s why that will have national consequences

NT gambling laws are being overhauled. Here’s why that will have national consequences

New laws governing the conduct of gambling companies are expected to be debated, and passed, by the Northern Territory parliament this week.

But while the NT is Australia’s least populated jurisdiction, these laws will govern betting companies across the country.

The reforms have been criticised by anti-gambling experts, and there are allegations that the NT’s regulator of gambling and betting is suffering from “regulatory capture”.

Here’s what you need to know.

Why do betting companies like the territory?

The NT has become the de facto place for wagering service providers (WSPs) to be based due to its low taxes and fees, according to a federal review of the regulation of the gambling industry that concluded last year. 

One submission described the NT’s governance of these companies as a “light touch”.

The vast majority of online betting companies choose to base themselves in the Northern Territory.(ABC News: Ian Redfearn)

Overall, 32 sports bookmakers and two betting exchanges — which collectively earn $50 billion a year — are regulated by the NT Racing Commission.

And the NT, with an economy of just $32 billion, affords these companies more freedom than other jurisdictions.

One of those freedoms includes allowing gambling companies to offer inducements such as vouchers and credit to attract customers.

What are the proposed reforms?

The Racing and Wagering Bill 2024 will reform the NT Racing Commission into the Racing and Wagering Commission.

Complaints about the conduct of gambling companies by Australian customers are heard by the racing commission, and these responsibilities will be transferred across to the new commission.