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Pages tagged "problem gambling"
MR: ACL Disappointed parliament set to repeal poker-machine reforms
· December 11, 2013 11:00 AM
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.
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.
Time to act on pokie machine reform: ACL
· May 22, 2013 10:00 AM
Wednesday 22nd May, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has backed calls for the Tasmanian Government to introduce $1 bet limit on pokie machines in the state.
ACL’s Tasmanian State Director Mark Brown said problem gambling is an issue that affects many Tasmanian families.
“The 2011 Social and Economic Impact Study of Gambling in Tasmania found that nearly 50 per cent of all electronic gaming machine takings are from problem gamblers or moderate risk gamblers,” he said.
“Of course there will be a cost to the bottom line when the government pockets $100 million in taxes from the industry. Economics, however, should be a secondary consideration to the social toll incurred on the community.
“The Government needs to plot a road map to weaning itself off poker machine revenue,” Mr Brown said.
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.
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.
MR: Bipartisan approach needed to tackle problem gambling
· October 24, 2012 11:00 AM
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.
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.
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