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Coalition Government Would “Rescind” Pokies Reforms


Wednesday, 26th October 2011 at 11:23 am
Staff Reporter
A Coalition Government would try to overturn the mandatory pre-commitment scheme designed to combat problem gambling – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said last night. The planned pre-commitment laws would force poker machine gamblers to set…

Wednesday, 26th October 2011
at 11:23 am
Staff Reporter


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Coalition Government Would “Rescind” Pokies Reforms
Wednesday, 26th October 2011 at 11:23 am

A Coalition Government would try to overturn the mandatory pre-commitment scheme designed to combat problem gambling – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said last night.

The planned pre-commitment laws would force poker machine gamblers to set a self-determined limit before playing high-intensity machines. Poker machines that take large bets will be programmed to cap loses at $120 per hour. Currently gamblers can lose up to $1500 an hour on some machines.

ABC News reports that Abbott told more than 1,000 people at a rally at the Campbelltown RSL that “problem gambling was an individual issue which can be dealt with by counselling.” 

He said "And if this legislation is passed by the Parliament and if we then subsequently form a government, I predict we will rescind it. That's what I predict.”

However ABC News says even if a Coalition Government is elected, it is not expected they would be able to overturn poker machine reforms due to the Greens’ support of the reforms in the Senate.

Sky News reports that Labor MP Laurie Ferguson told the rally that 'If we look at problem gambling in this country, 75 per cent of people who are defined as such are people that play poker machines – And 90 per cent of women with a gambling problem are poker machine players” 

Sky News says Ferguson rejected Abbott’s proposal of providing increased counselling services, saying it wasn’t enough.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie’s support for the Gillard Government is dependant on the government introducing the poker machine reforms.

The 2008 Productivity Commission into gambling estimated that problem gamblers spend an average of $21,000 a year on gambling – and that the social cost of problem gambling is at least $4.7 billion per year.

Federal MPs and academics have this week condemned new poker machines with earphones that have the ability to ''deeply immerse and engage players in game play'', according to The Age.

Advertisements about the machines promise a “new level of profitability” for venue owners.

Have your say – Should there be a pre-commitment scheme for problem gamblers? Let us know below.



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One Comment

  • Cat123 says:

    The suggestion put forward of more counselling (including perhaps family intervention), self exclusion/ partial pre commitment – equates to business as usual for this industry. It has, in the main been a worn path that simply cannot effectively rein in this problem by these means. It is commonly stated that people will be 'forced to set a limit' whereas in similar but untainted situations most people would normally say, they are 'required' to do whatever. It means the same but the former is inflammatory and the latter is quite neutral. It really is a gross campaign they are running as they are hurting the people who have no voice and they know it. They even want to cause unnecessary controversy over who exactly this pre commitment aspect is targeting. Leaving aside the $1 bet limit, the proposed pre commitment on high intensity machines will simply be at minimum an effective inbuilt safeguard whose full potential can be taken advantage of by anyone who feels a need for it. I have vast experience and knowledge of these machines/venues because I played them regularly for 27 years, so they can't pull the wool over my eyes. I do get a bit tired of all the stereotyping and I am also quite disheartened because misunderstandings abound and this is certainly not helped by the actions (in particular) of Clubs Australia/NSW.

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