Renewed calls by Senator Nick Xenaphon and Andrew Wilkie MP to crackdown of poker machines have been welcomed by the Australian Christian Lobby.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the Federal Government must heed community concerns with problem gambling and work alongside Senator Xenaphon and Mr Wilkie to achieve reforms that will stop the harm being felt in by families and the community.

“The onus is on the Turnbull Government to ensure the 400,000 people with gambling addiction and their families are adequately protected.

“This is one time when Government intervention is needed to address sports gambling advertising and to introduce $1 bets.

“It is not too much to ask for the Government to implement recommendations that were outlined in the Productivity Commission’s 2010 report into problem gambling which recommended $1 bets on poker machines,” Mr Shelton said.

“The gambling trade has given the impression that it is concerned with the harm that their poker machines inflict on the community. The ACL looks forward to the gambling industry now demonstrating their concern by taking real action to minimise this harm by supporting $1 bets.

“ACL supports calls for poker machines to be limited to a $1 bet limit per spin. This alone will cap potential losses for punters to about one-tenth what they currently are, dramatically reducing the potential for community harm.”

According to the Productivity Commission report, the number of problem gamblers in Australia is approximately 115,000 in addition to the 280,000 who are categorised as at moderate risk. Their share of total spending on machines is estimated to be around 40 per cent, although they make up 15 per cent of regular players.

“The ACL calls on Labor and the Coalition to draw a line in the sand, to show leadership and refuse any donations that come from the gambling industry.

“Gambling money has too much influence on Australian politics and problem gamblers and their families suffer as a result.”

ENDS

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