SA Crossbenchers Take On Gambling Reform
Thursday, 28th July 2016 at 11:12 am
South Australian Legislative Council crossbenchers have joined forces in a bid to reform gambling laws by introducing a bill to remove EFTPOS facilities and limit gaming machine bets to a maximum of $1 per bet.
The crossbenchers said the Statutes Amendment (Gaming Area Prohibitions and Barring Orders) Bill 2016 aimed to minimise harm caused by problem gambling and amends the Casino Act 1997, Gaming Machines Act 1992 and the Independent Gambling Authority Act 1995.
The bill is a collaboration between Family First, Dignity for Disability, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team, in conjunction with Associate Professor Michael O’Neil from the SA Centre of Economic Studies of the University of Adelaide.
The bill prohibits gaming machines that allow bets of more than $1 (currently the law allow bets of up to $5 at a time), strengthens barring orders by giving venues more powers to report at risk gamblers and removes coin dispensing machines and EFTPOS facilities from within gaming areas.
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Family First MLCs Robert Brokenshire and Dennis Hood said they were proud of the approach of the crossbench to address gambling reform in SA.
“The crossbench often doesn’t see eye to eye on issues but on this matter, we have been able to set aside any differences and work together for the benefit of South Australians, especially those who are affected by problem gambling and their families. We call on the government and the opposition to give full support to these changes,” Brokenshire said.
The state Labor government previously described the use of EFTPOS machines in venues as an effective means for staff to keep an eye on problem gamblers.
Nick Xenophon Team MLC John Darley said, on average, problem gamblers lose one-third of the average Australian wage each year.
“To make it easier for these vulnerable people to access their money was a bad move and it is now time to rectify it. I have always opposed EFTPOS facilities in gaming venues and the government should take this opportunity to admit they made a mistake,” Darley said.
Greens MLC Tammy Franks described these reforms as “common sense”.
“Limiting machines to $1 bets as recommended by the Productivity Commission is a common sense reform that won’t affect most players, but will absolutely help problem gamblers limit their losses,” Franks said.
“Problem gambling leads to the obvious financial loss but can also have a devastating human toll, relationships and lives are lost. We should be doing all we can to support those who need help.”
Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent said no good ever came from easy access to ATMs in the vicinity of pokies.
“Dignity for Disability know that people with disabilities are overrepresented in problem gambling statistics and we want to see greater action taken by government to address this issue,” Vincent said.