Salvos Clarify Position on Mandatory Pre-Commitment on Poker Machines
Thursday, 1st September 2011 at 1:33 pm
The Salvation Army has been forced to clarify its position on mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines after reports the welfare organisation had back-flipped on it’s support for the concept.
It was suggested in media reports that the Salvos may lose access to fundraising at pubs and clubs if it continued to support pre-Commitment regulations.
However, the Salvation Army has released a statement saying it has not back flipped or changed its position on mandatory pre-commitment.
It says the Salvation Army has held the same position since the beginning of the debate over mandatory pre-commitment and at no time has the Salvation Army ”rejected" mandatory pre-commitment or criticised the motivations or positive intentions of those who support its introduction.
The statement says the Salvation Army has always been opposed to the proliferation of gambling and sought to assist those whose lives have been negatively affected by it.
It says that for this reason the Salvation Army Southern Territory (Vic, TAS, SA, WA, NT) has supported the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment since its announcement.
The Salvation Army Eastern Territory (NSW, ACT, Qld) shares a similar concern for the impact of gambling, however based on consultations with its front line staff, people in its programs effected by problem gambling, and researchers, the Salvation Army Eastern Territory support further trials of mandatory pre-commitment before fully endorsing it.
The Salvation Army says it values its access to the clubs and hotels but any threat to this access was not a factor in determining the position of The Salvation Army Eastern Territory.
The Salvos had joined a campaign led by anti-pokies MPs Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie, alongside the Reverend Tim Costello and other church groups in their support of the pre-commitment regulations.
The Federal Government’s proposed gambling reforms are based on the recommendations of the Productivity Commission, including the implementation of a pre-commitment scheme for poker machines to commence in 2012.
In a full pre-commitment scheme, poker machine players will be asked to set a limit on how much money (and possibly time) they want to spend on the pokies in a set period. Players would still have control over their own money and can set the limit as high or low as they like. They could also change their limits but would not be able to revoke or increase them within their agreed set period. In the model recommended by the Productivity Commission, players can choose not to set a limit at all if this is their preference.