Media Release

July 5, 2010

ACL backs calls to stop children being groomed for gambling

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today backed calls from anti-gambling campaigners for children to be stopped from accessing ‘pokie-like’ arcade games in clubs and hotels.

ACL Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton today said that the social costs of problem gambling are huge and it is scary to think that efforts are being made to groom a new generation of problem gamblers.

“It is abhorrent to think that a new training ground is being established to school children from an early age to become addicted to gambling,” Mr Shelton said.

“There can be no justifiable reason to have children using arcade games with gambling features such as prizes, spinning wheels and bright lights in close proximity to poker machines.

“The ACL supports calls from anti-gambling campaigners such as Nick Xenophon and Tim Costello for government action to ensure kids can’t play these games – and particularly not near poker machine venues.”

Mr Shelton also urged the Federal Government to take action on the recommendations contained in the recently-released Productivity Commission report.

“The Productivity Commission report revealed that Australians spend about $19 billion a year on gambling and that the cost to problem gamblers was between $4.7 billion and $8.4 billion a year. These are alarming figures and there is a stark need for stronger measures to combat problem gambling.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979.