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Pages tagged "pokies"
MR: Australians’ gambling losses build the case for reform
· February 05, 2014 11:00 AM
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.
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.
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Pokies, politics and the need for principled public leadership
· December 11, 2013 11:00 AM
The politics of poker machine reform have been playing out in the last two weeks of Parliament before it rises tonight for the Christmas break.
A combination of the power of the clubs’ lobby and the addiction of State Governments to gaming revenue make it almost impossible to achieve progress.
Meanwhile, 95,000 poker machine addicts lose a staggering $5 billion per year. Social carnage accompanies this.
There was a whiff of opportunity in the last Parliament when Tasmanian Independent Andrew Wilke secured an agreement with Julia Gillard to install systems in poker machines which would limit losses.
But that was in a hung Parliament and Labor needed Wilke’s vote to hold government.
When the opportunity came to install Peter Slipper as speaker and Wilke’s vote was no longer needed, Labor reneged on its promise in January 2012.
As a consolation, legislation was passed last year to make all poker machines loss-limiting-ready with mandatory pre-commitment technology.
A trial was 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.
All of these very modest reforms are now being repealed by the Abbott Government and Labor has now agreed to back the repeal in the Senate.
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.
These are vehemently opposed by the clubs who are major donors to both sides of politics and are very good at mobilising grass roots campaigns.
State governments have also become addicted to poker machine revenue and this further dilutes political will.
This issue is an example of where principled public leadership is needed in the face of powerful vested interests.
ACL is pleased to be part of Tim Costello’s Churches Gambling Taskforce and he is right to draw a comparison with Nelson Mandela’s courageous leadership.
Andrew Wilke went as far as chipping members for saying the Lord’s Prayer in parliament but not caring about the victims of poker machine harm.
The problem with both of these examples is it applies a selective morality. Mandela-like leadership and Christian compassion is also needed for a range of other seemingly intractable public policy problems.
Human rights for the unborn come to mind as do the rights of children who will be removed from biological parents through technology as part of same-sex marriage ideology.
There are many good people on both sides of the political divide. As citizens we need to do more to encourage them to stand against powerful forces which stymie truth and evidence-based policy making.
This is my last contribution to the ACL blog for this year. Thanks for your support and may I wish you and your family a holy and happy Christmas.
Dan Flynn on the Political Spot
· December 04, 2012 11:00 AM
Dan Flynn is the Victorian Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. He spoke to the ACL's Katherine Spackman about the drop in money being spent on pokies in the state since it banned ATMs in gaming venues.
MR: Removal of ATM’s from gaming venues a win for problem gamblers
· December 03, 2012 11:00 AM
Removal of ATM’s from gaming venues a win for problem gamblers
The recent drop in poker machine spending in Victoria is a win for problem gamblers and their families and should inspire further reform, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
The Victorian government in July this year banned ATMs from the State’s 511 poker machine venues. As a result there has been a significant drop in poker machine spending of 6.7 per cent or $62 million since the initiative.
ACL’s Victorian Director Dan Flynn said this is a win for victims of problem gambling and that further reforms such as $1 bets or mandatory pre-commitment should be pursued.
“Church and community groups – who all too often have to pick up the broken lives and families damaged by problem gambling – will welcome the news of successful gambling reform in Victoria, which includes a ban on poker machine headphones and rules out the possibility of a second casino,” Mr Flynn said.
“The reduction in gambling expenditure will make a dint in the cost to the state of $1.5 billion and $2.1 billion respectively in economic and social costs as estimated by the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission,” Mr Flynn said.
The ban on ATMs in gambling venues was announced in March 2008 by the then ALP Victorian government, effective from July 2012.
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MR: Pokie reform bill should be just the beginning
· November 29, 2012 11:00 AM
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.
Rev Tim Costello on The Political Spot
· November 06, 2012 11:00 AM
Rev Tim Costello is Chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce. He spoke with Ben Williams about the introduction of the National Gambling Reform Bill 2012 into the federal parliament last week
MR: ACL welcomes federal gambling reform
· November 01, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Thursday, November 1, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes the introduction of gambling reform legislation which will require all poker machines to be fitted with pre-commitment technology by 2016, and will introduce ATM withdrawal limits of $250 from next year.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said the legislation establishes the important precedent of federal intervention in poker machine regulation.
While the legislation will go some way to addressing the issue of problem gambling in Australia, it is only a small step in the right direction Mr Wallace said.
“Pre-commitment technology and ATM withdrawal limits are an important start, but it will only go so far in alleviating the destructive force of poker machine addiction,” he said.
“Problem gamblers will not be required to commit to how much they will lose, and it will not be difficult to get around the ATM withdrawal limits.”
Mr Wallace echoed Independent MP Andrew Wilkie’s statement that the legislation lays the groundwork for further government intervention and reform in this area.
He joined Mr Wilkie as well as the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce in calling for mandatory pre-commitment and $1 maximum bets.
“There are 95,000 problem poker machine gamblers who lose $5 billion each year on poker machines,” he said.
“$1 maximum bets would limit losses to $120 per hour, but this is still far more than most problem gamblers can afford to lose.”
“Taking this first step is important, but we must continue the reform to address this national tragedy,” Mr Wallace said.
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