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Shergold to Head Advisory Group on Gambling

22 September 2010 at 11:32 am
Lina Caneva
Former Howard Government Department head and current CEO of the Centre for Social Impact, Prof Peter Shergold is to lead a new advisory group on on poker machines.

Lina Caneva | 22 September 2010 at 11:32 am


Shergold to Head Advisory Group on Gambling
22 September 2010 at 11:32 am


Former Howard Government Department head and current CEO of the Centre for Social Impact, Prof Peter Shergold is to lead a new advisory group on poker machines.


The Ministerial Advisory Group on Gambling has been set up as part of an agreement between the Labor Government and Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie as part of the discussions after the Federal Election to decide the hung parliament.


Professor Peter Shergold has returned to the University of New South Wales to head CSI after 20 years during which he was Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the nation's most senior public servant (2003-2008). The Centre for Social Impact brings together the Not for Profit, philanthropic, business and government sectors and is based at the University of NSW.


The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, the Assistant Treasurer, Bill Shorten, the Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, and Senator Nick Xenophon held discussions yesterday to progress reform on problem gambling, including the implementation of 'pre-commitment' technology for poker machines by 2014. Pre-commitment technology enables gamblers to log in to poker machines via smartcards, USB thumb drives and other devices that will identify them to poker machine networks. They allow poker machine operators to minimise gambling problems by, for example, setting limits on how much money gamblers can spend.


The group committed to working in close partnership and in consultation with state and territory governments, industry and the community sector to tackle problem gambling including implementing 'pre-commitment' technology, ATM withdrawal limits in venues with poker machines (excluding casinos) and poker machine 'dynamic warning' and 'cost of play' displays.


The 2010 Productivity Commission Report into Gambling found that a 'pre-commitment' scheme is a strong, practicable and ultimately cost-effective option to minimise harm caused by gambling.


The group will provide advice from their members and interested parties to the Government and the Joint Select Parliamentary Committee on Gambling on the implementation of the reforms.


The Expert Advisory Group will include representatives from:


·         organisations who provide problem gambling counselling and support services;

·         technical experts, for example, gaming machine software specialists and ATM operators;

·         clubs, hotels, casinos and gaming machine manufacturers; and

·         researchers and academics who specialise in understanding problem gambling behaviour and harm minimisation    measures.


This new committee will provide advice to Jenny Macklin, Bill Shorten and the Prime Minister on a full response to the recommendations in the 2010 Productivity Commission Report into Gambling. The committee will also provide input into the position the Australian Government will take to the COAG Select Council on Gambling.


It is expected that a resolution to establish the Parliamentary committee will be put to the Parliament in the first sitting week.


The Productivity Commission estimates that there are between 80,000 and 160,000 problem gamblers. In addition there are between 230,000 and 350,000 people at moderate risk.


The Gillard Government has committed to work with the states and territories to implement: a best practice pre-commitment scheme uniform across all states and territories by 2014 consistent with the recommendations made by the Productivity Commission; poker machine dynamic warning displays and cost of play displays and a $250 daily withdrawal limit for ATMs in venues with poker machines (excluding casinos).

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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One comment

  • Libby Mitchell says:

    The pre-commit system is excellent…but should go further, as in Singapore. All Singapore gamblers must pay $100SGD ($75AUD) per casino entry levy, or $2000SGD ($1500AUD) for a whole year’s casino entry, that may be paid quarterly! THEN they are allowed to gamble!

    It deters and warns would be gamblers, limits losses, increases revenue for covering the obscene increases in social costs that casino gambling, especially machine gambling brings!

    It is a ‘user pays’ system…like we expect of our smokers, even though not all smokers create a drain on public services.

    If we can make all of our weekend fishermen pay for fishing licenses, presumably to protect the fish…since fishermen are ‘warned and educated’ before they go fishing…then surely we can license all of our pokies gamblers at least, to that same sense of responsibility?

    They MUST know that their gambling causes trade and community loss, just as it limits their own family spending to some extent, so to expect a ‘user pays’ system would seem logical, for ALL gamblers?

    If the gambler cannot afford the gambling levy…then he should not be gambling! Simple!

    Poker machines are not harmless toys for most people who use them despite the reports that frankly are not accurate! People lie about their losses so nobody really knows the true degree of problem gambling loss from pokies…and we will not know until we get a ‘paper trail’ going via pre-commit cards.

    Up to 90% of people in gambling venues late at night are known to be problem or at risk gamblers…and that figure only reduces to around 60% at some times of the day. It is absurd that we should expect taxpayers of the future to fund the losses now being created by overspending pokies’ users! Kids are losing life chances, family security, stability and parental contact too much from gambling on pokies. We are making a rod for our own backs, if we do not bring in effective consumer protections like pre-commit cards AND licenses!

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