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In line with significant gambling reform in South Australia, a new community impact test will replace the current Social Effect Inquiry Process and Principles.

This new test will be more closely aligned to the process required for a liquor licence.

From December, all new applications for a gaming machine licence, as well as applications classified as designated applications, will need to complete a community impact assessment submission.

The new Community Impact Assessment Guidelines that explain this process are currently out for consultation until Wednesday, 21 October.

What is a Community Impact Assessment?

The Liquor and Gambling Commissioner is only able to grant an application for a new gaming machine licence, or a designated application, if they are satisfied that to do so is in the community interest.

To make this assessment, the Commissioner is required to take into consideration:

  • harm that might be caused by gambling – whether to a community as a whole, or a specific group within that community
  • cultural, recreational, employment or tourism impacts
  • social impact in the community.

When applying for a gaming machine licence, applicants must provide evidence that shows the licence would be in the community interest.

Members of an affected community are also able to object to an application. They can make a submission to the Commissioner, explaining why they believe a gaming machine licence should not be granted.

What’s different?

The current Social Effect Inquiry Process is a long, complex and inflexible process.

The new Community Impact Assessment Guidelines will help to streamline this process for applicants, who will be able to complete the submission themselves without having to use a lawyer.

The new guidelines will also provide more clarity around the requirements, while still allowing the Commissioner to request additional information before making a decision.

Applicants will also be able to use the existing Liquor and Gaming Online (LGO) Portal to submit their submission and supporting material related to gaming machine licences.

Stakeholder engagement

The current Social Effect Inquiry Process includes multiple periods for consultation and response that can take months to complete.

Under the new community impact assessment guidelines, rather than a strict and structured engagement process, applicants must provide evidence of their community engagement and consultation.

The level of scrutiny and rigour around the application will not change, but the level of detail required will be different for each application.

Applicants will need to provide evidence they have contacted key stakeholders including:

  • the local council
  • local community welfare and help services
  • cultural and residential groups.

This evidence will be included in the community impact assessment submission, and can be in the form of things like petitions, survey results or letters of support.

Clearer definitions

Consistent with the recent liquor licensing reforms, the term ‘locality’ will be used to describe the area surrounding an applicant’s premises. 

Generally, this will mean the area within: 

  • a 2km radius of the premises within the Adelaide metropolitan area
  • a 5km radius of the premises outside of the metropolitan area. 

A suitable locality should be chosen where the premises is remotely located.

The Commissioner will decide whether the locality has been identified appropriately when determining the application. 

Simpler statistical and demographic information requirements

The current Social Effect Inquiry Process requires applicants to prepare a comprehensive list of statistical information, which is often difficult to collect and interpret. 

The new guidelines specify that while some statistical information will still be required, most of this can be sourced from the CBS Community Impact Assessment Portal. 

Similarly, as the new community impact test for gaming applications will be aligned with the liquor licence application process, information will no longer need to be duplicated for concurrent applications. 

This includes data like crime statistics, social profile information and population and unemployment figures. 

Harm minimisation

The new Community Impact Assessment process will place a greater emphasis on how applicants will minimise gambling related harms in the community. 

Applications will need to address and provide copies of the policies and procedures that will be implemented to minimise any harmful impacts to at-risk groups in the locality. 

This includes how the applicant will:

  • identify possible problem gamblers in those premises
  • inform customers and their families of, and facilitate access to, voluntary self-exclusion and formal barring (including licensee involuntary barring)
  • enforce and comply with voluntary self-exclusion and formal barring
  • design or locate the gaming area so it would not be a special attraction to minors, detract unduly from the character of the premises or the enjoyment of patrons using the premises (apart for the purpose of gaming)
  • arrange security of the licenced gaming area and the gaming machines.

Have your say

The draft Community Impact Assessment Guidelines are now available for consultation. 

Download the guidelines

You can provide your feedback by Wednesday 21 October to CBSReforms [at] sa.gov.au