Community Contributions

Introduction

Mandatory reporting of community contributions made by licensees was introduced in 1997. The Commissioner for ACT Revenue produced the first two reports and subsequent reporting became the responsibility of the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission (the Commission) following its establishment in December 1999.

The Gaming Machine Act 2004 provides that the Commission may approve contributions made by a gaming machine licensee to a stated entity for a stated purpose as community contributions if satisfied the contributions will have the effect of contributing to or supporting the development of the community or raising the community’s, or part of the community’s, standard of living.

Part 12 of the Gaming Machine Act 2004 (the Act) contains the primary legislative provisions dealing with community contributions. Guidelines for approving contributions is available from Part 9 of the Gaming Machine Regulation 2004 (the Regulation).

Licensee Requirements

All gaming machine licensees are required to:

  • record each community contribution made by each authorised venue, stating the entity to which, and the purpose for which, each contribution was made and the amount or value of the contribution; and
  • within one month after the end of a financial year, give the Commission a copy of those records together with a financial report for the financial year.

The legislation outlines broad purposes that contributions must meet to be approved as community contributions and identifies some types of expenditure that would not be approved as community contributions. The Regulations provide guidelines for approving contributions to further assist the Commission and licensees regarding the general criteria for each of the categories of community contributions.

The minimum required percentage of community contribution for clubs is eight per cent of Net Gaming Machine Revenue (NGMR). Hotel and Taverns that are gaming machine licensees must report their community contributions but there is no minimum requirement. If no contributions are made in the reporting period, a nil report must be submitted.

To assist licensees in providing the community contributions information, reporting pro-forma have been developed by the Commission.

Categories for Community Contributions

Reported community contributions are defined and segregated, in accordance with the guidelines described in the Regulation into each of the five categories indicated below:

  1. Charitable and Social Welfare;
  2. Problem Gambling;
  3. Sport and Recreation;
  4. Non-Profit Activities; and
  5. Community Infrastructure.

There are two incentive schemes in the Act which have been included to encourage gaming machine licensees to increase their community contributions to women’s sport and to assist problem gambling issues. The incentive schemes allow a licensee to claim $4 for every $3 spent on eligible contributions in these two areas. In light of these schemes, contributions to Women’s Sport and Problem Gambling are reported as separate categories.

Report to the Minister

In accordance with Act, the Commission must report to the Minister for Racing and Gaming within four months of the end of the financial year on community contributions made by gaming machine licensees. The Community Contribution Report provides a summary of the extent of compliance by licensees and an analysis of the extent to which revenue received by the licensees has been used to make community contributions. The report also includes statistical information compiled from the details of contributions supplied by gaming machine licensees for the financial year.

Copies of the Community Contributions Reports can be found by following the link or under the Publications tab on the About Us page.

Assessment and Audit Program

On receipt of each licensee’s report of its community contributions, the Commission conducts a preliminary examination of each reported contribution. The purpose is to ascertain prima facie its eligibility as a community contribution pursuant to the Act.

In instances where there is doubt about the eligibility of a contribution, licensees are contacted and afforded the opportunity to provide additional information before the Commission approves or declines to approve the contribution. In situations where no responses were provided the proposed contributions were not approved as they could not be verified as being eligible by the Commission.

Following the Minister’s tabling of the Commission’s report, the Commission commences a more comprehensive audit program of reported contributions as a part of the overall audit program of licensees. Discrepancies that are discovered which result in a material change to a licensee’s community contributions, are noted for inclusion in the following year’s report, and if applicable, notices of shortfall tax liabilities are issued.

Problem Gambling Assistance Fund

The allowance of contributions to the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund, while a mandatory levy, recognises the contribution made by gaming machine licensees to problem gambling support services under this scheme.

In relation to other contributions to problem gambling assistance, section 171A of the Act allows licensees to claim $4 for every $3 for such contributions as an incentive to increase outlays in this area. Consistent with ensuring that payments to the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund are over and above the existing level of mandatory community contributions, section 171A(2) excludes payments to the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund from this incentive scheme. This means that while a licensee may include their payments to the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund as part of their problem gambling community contributions, they cannot claim the payments at the value of $4 for every $3 as they would other problem gambling community contributions. Accordingly, these two amounts have been separately identified.

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