For release: Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed tonight’s passing of legislation putting modest curbs on harmful poker machines.

Managing Director Jim Wallace said ACL hoped today’s reforms would be just the beginning of meaningful reform to stop the harm of poker machines to people suffering from addiction to them.

“While the reforms are modest, it is significant that the Parliament has recognised the damage poker machines do to our community.

“It is disappointing that the Government reneged on its promise to Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilke for more meaningful reform, as integrity in public life is paramount.

“It is also disappointing that the Opposition opposed this legislation.”

Mr Wallace said it was important that the major parties were able to stand up to the vested interests of the industry which profited from problem gamblers and State Governments which were addicted to taxation revenue from poker machines.

$12 billion goes into 200,000 poker machines each year, half of which are in New South Wales. $5 billion of this comes out of the pockets of problem gamblers.

The reforms force owners to make machines ready for mandatory pre-commitment in the future, limit withdrawals from ATMs in gaming venues (excluding casinos) to $250 and mandate warnings on machines to gamblers.