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.