Clubs Australia says the considered position of the Federal Coalition on gambling reform, and their commitment to evidence based policy is a welcome change to that of the closed door, deal making that resulted in the Government’s support for mandatory pre-commitment.
Clubs Australia looks forward to taking the opportunity to participate in the Coalition discussion group and addressing each of the options raised in the discussion paper.
Clubs Australia Executive Director Anthony Ball said the Coalition’s consultative, evidence based approach was clearly the appropriate manner in which to address the issue of problem gambling.
“The strength of the Coalition’s approach to reform is that it takes a holistic approach, looking at all forms of problem gambling. The Federal Government’s deal with Andrew Wilkie bizarrely ignored online gambling as well as the need for increased funding for counselling and education.
“Tony Abbott has made clear his view that counselling and education need to be strengthened. It’s a view I share and indeed unsuccessfully raised with the Federal Government three years ago.
“Clubs Australia believes that education, including lessons taught as part of the high school syllabus, has the potential to ensure the rate of problem gambling in Australia continues to fall.
“Clubs Australia has also previously indicated its support for significant changes to existing self exclusion laws and the help that could come from giving family members the ability to help venues identify gamblers who could benefit from counselling.
“Clubs Australia’s support for voluntary pre-commitment will form a key part of our contribution to the discussion group. Voluntary pre-commitment technology has been trialled with promising results in both South Australia and Queensland, showing it can with the right set-up and industry promotion, help recreation gamblers set and stick to limits.
“Voluntary pre-commitment is a tool designed to assist recreational gamblers. Andrew Wilkie on the other hand has repeatedly stated that his mandatory pre-commitment scheme is designed to assist problem gamblers. Gambling counsellors as recently as Monday have directly explained to Mr Wilkie that such people are incapable of setting and sticking to realistic limits.
“Clubs Australia supports measures that stop problem gamblers gambling. The deal between Andrew Wilkie and the Prime Minister does not attempt to deter a problem gambler from playing a poker machine, a fact which has been repeatedly made by some of Australia’s leading counsellors and gambling researches.
“Clubs Australia appreciates the Federal Coalition’s recognition of the economic contribution of clubs to local economies. It is clear from trials of voluntary pre-commitment that a mandatory pre-commitment system would drive social gamblers away from clubs, with studies indicating 75% opposition to any mandatory scheme.
“A boycott by social gamblers of clubs and their poker machines would cost the Australian economy tens of thousands of jobs, and decimate funding of community and sporting groups upon which many rely,” he said.
Media Relations Manager
ClubsNSW / ClubsAustralia
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