For release: Wednesday December 11, 2013

The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed disappointment that federal parliament looks set to repeal the Gillard Government’s modest poker-machine reforms.

ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said legislation introduced by the Coalition last week to repeal the 2012 legislation looks set to be supported by Labor in the senate.

“We can’t ignore the harm of poker-machines and the fact that there are 95,000 problem gamblers addicted to poker machines. Leadership is needed from both sides of politics,” he said.

“The reforms introduced by the Gillard Government were modest and a step in the right direction,” Mr Shelton said.

“The reforms included a trial to be conducted in the ACT of mandatory pre-commitment technology before the switch could be flicked on machines at a later date. ATM’s at gaming venues were to be limited to $250 limits and a national gambling regulator was to be established,” he said.

Mr Shelton said it was unclear how the Coalition would tackle the problem gambling issue with the power of the clubs lobby and state government addiction to gambling revenue.

“Social services minister Kevin Andrews has foreshadowed reforms in the future that would include more counselling for problem gamblers. This is welcome but it is widely accepted that tougher measures to limit losses such as mandatory pre-commitment or limiting machines to $1 bets are what is needed to help addicts,” he said.

“There is enormous impact on the community from problem gambling. Problem gambling can ruin families, harm children, cause gamblers to lose their jobs and homes and can affect their health,” he said.