Wednesday 5th February 2014

Reforms to the gaming industry should remain on the political agenda in light of fresh reports that Australians are the world’s biggest gamblers, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

The report, published recently in The Economist, puts Australian gambling losses at around $1144 per resident.

ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the government should be focused on reforming poker machine regulation to tackle the growing gambling problem and associated poverty it causes.

“ACL believes poker machine reform needs to remain on the agenda; the recommendations of the 2010 Parliamentary Committee for $1 bets should be considered afresh by the new government,” he said.

“There were 95,000 poker machine addicts in Australia losing around $5 billion per year,” Mr Shelton said.

“The depth of the problem in Australian society means it is an issue that cannot continue to be put in the too hard basket,” he said.

“Strategies are needed to wean state governments off their dependency on poker machine revenue, particularly New South Wales. The state has one third of Australia’s population and half the country’s poker machines,” Mr Shelton said.

The 2010 Productivity Commission’s report highlighted that governments across Australia make about $5 billion a year from gambling taxes and that Australians spend about $19 billion a year on gambling. The cost to problems gamblers was between $4.7 billion and $8.4 billion a year.

- ends -