Uniting Care Australia Calls for Safer Gambling Practices
2 December 2010 at 10:56 am
UnitingCare Australia is supporting Federal Government attempts at an early roll-out of a full pre-commitment system over the next four years to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling.
Uniting Care National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds says it’s estimated that 40 per cent of poker machine revenue comes from problem gamblers and that the impact on individuals, families and communities is well documented.
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Uniting Care was responding to the address to the 20th Annual Conference of the National Association for Gambling Studies, on the Gold Coast, by the Minister for Families, Housing and Community Services, Jenny Macklin.
Minister Macklin told the conference the Federal Government would be working with the states and territories to begin bringing in pre-commitment arrangements in 2012, with the full scheme commencing in 2014. This is two years ahead of the time frame recommended by the Productivity Commission.
Jenny Macklin says the Government is committed to implementing a $250 daily withdrawal limit for ATMs in venues with poker machines, except casinos.
She told the Conference that the Government is well aware that a full pre-commitment scheme across all states and territories is a challenging reform, and while there are very different arrangements at the moment across all the jurisdictions the Federal Government has committed to bring in its own legislation if there is no agreement with the states and territories by the end of May next year.
The Productivity Commission recommended that the Commonwealth intervene if states did not agree to implement these changes Australia-wide.
Uniting Care says Australia’s problem gamblers have access to around 200,000 poker machines Australia-wide and it’s easy to lose $1,500 or more in an hour.
Hatfield Dodds says it is imperative that gambling products and services at least meet the consumer protection requirements that are rightly imposed on other products from food to pharmaceuticals and children’s toys.
The UnitingCare network provides services to over 2 million people each year in 1,300 sites in remote, regional and metropolitan communities. The network employs 35,000 people and is supported by the work of 24,000 volunteers.