For release: Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has called for a bipartisan approach to reduce problem gambling in New South Wales before considering a second casino for Sydney.

ACL’s NSW Director David Hutt said, “problem gambling is causing bankruptcy, increasing crime, and breaking up marriages.

“Successive New South Wales governments have been addicted to gambling revenues.  Problem gambling is destroying lives right across this state.

“New South Wales has one third of Australia’s population and half the country’s poker machines.

“It is time the New South Wales Government articulated a clear and achievable strategy to wean itself off gambling revenues and reduce the number of poker machines in the state.

“This should be the government’s priority, not a second casino.”

Mr Hutt welcomed assurances from the Labor Opposition it would not support the allocation of poker machine licences in any second casino. ACL called for a bipartisan approach to tackling problem gambling in NSW.

A recent report by Roy Morgan shows spending on poker machines is up in the last quarter to $2.9 billion, and that ‘expenditure is much higher on poker machines than any other form of gambling.’

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 problem gamblers was between $4.7 billion and $8.4 billion a year.

“As long as the government feeds the gambling industry, we will continue to see the negative impacts of poker machine addictions to problem gamblers and their families and friends,” Mr Hutt said.