Coalition’s poll favours $1 pokie bet

Stephanie Pealting, SMH.
Thousands of people have told the federal Coalition they support tougher action on problem pokies gambling, including $1 maximum bets and mandatory pre-commitment.

The opposition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull will this week release the results of an online poll he conducted to gauge community views on what should be done.

”Sixty-seven per cent of people supported $1 maximum bet limits – probably because it’s easier to understand – and 64 per cent of people said they either strongly agreed or agreed with mandatory pre-commitment,” Mr Turnbull told The Sun-Herald.

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He said the clubs industry had been made aware of the poll to try to prevent it from being hijacked by anti-gambling campaigners.

Almost 7500 people completed the survey, and were required to give their names and addresses. About 10 per cent were from Mr Turnbull’s Wentworth electorate in the eastern suburbs.

Mr Turnbull, the Coalition’s communications spokesman, is part of a working group set up by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, to develop a problem gambling policy.

Mr Abbott is opposed to Labor’s approach of introducing mandatory pre-commitment technology, which would require people to say how much money they were prepared to lose before they starting using gaming machines. Last week the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said she remained committed to a deal with the Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie to introduce mandatory pre-commitment in return for his support for the government.

Mr Turnbull’s poll attracted attention because it was linked to a message from the chairman of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, Tim Costello, who said a voluntary approach to tackling problem gambling would not work.

Yesterday Mr Turnbull said participants in the survey had been lukewarm about voluntary measures to counter problem gambling, with only 48 per cent of people in favour and 37 per cent opposed.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/coalitions-poll-favours-1-pokie-bet-20111210-1oooj.html#ixzz1gGxRwZ77