GREENS HIDE THE BAD NEWS ON $1 MAX BETS

Clubs Australia has today reiterated its opposition to the $1 max bet policy being shopped to the media by the Australian Greens and Senator Nick Xenophon.

Clubs Australia has made clear to all Federal MPs it would never support any proposal to force $1 max bets on recreational gamblers. Were it to be adopted by the Federal Government, the campaign against mandatory pre-commitment would switch to a campaign against $1 max bets on the basis that such a policy doesn’t stop the problem gambler from playing a poker machine.

 

Furthermore, Clubs Australia is calling on the Greens and Nick Xenophon to reveal the full detail of their $1 max bet policy, which includes slashing the major jackpot from $100,000 to just $500.

The Greens have now released 12 consecutive media releases without acknowledging this vital piece of information. To discover this information a journalist would need to read the fine print of the Greens’ gambling policy which hasn’t been seen since October 14 last year.

The one small study undertaken a decade ago and funded by ClubsNSW on $1 max bets found that just 7.5% of participating problem gamblers bet more than $1 per spin. This suggests the vast majority of problem gamblers would not benefit from limiting bets to just $1.

Clubs Australia Executive Director Anthony Ball said those pushing the $1 max bet policy to Federal MPs needed to be upfront with the full facts.

“It’s extraordinary that the Greens, along with Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon, have repeatedly claimed that recreational punters would be unaffected by $1 max bets,” he said.

“Not only does the $1 max bet policy slash the major jackpot by 99.5%, but it would also require all smaller jackpots be substantially reduced to meet the machine’s minimum RTP rate (return to player) required by law.

“More than 5 million Australians have a flutter on the pokies each year. They understand their chances of winning the jackpot are remote but play because they enjoy the ‘what if’ thought of winning the jackpot.

“Given the very small number of problem gamblers who bet more than $1 per spin, it seems clear the true motivation of the Greens and Senator Xenophon is to effectively force social punters to stop playing the pokies.

“The technology required to convert existing poker machines to a $1 max bet comes with a price tag of more than $3 billion. It’s simply the latest ‘magic bullet’ solution from an increasingly desperate anti-gambling lobby.

“Nick Xenophon penned an opinion piece in a recent Sunday paper extolling the benefits of the Greens’ ‘low-intensity’ machines. Despite penning 742 words, the Senator couldn’t find one word admitting the current $100,000 jackpot would be slashed to just $500.

“The United Kingdom has a large number of machines with a limited bet and jackpot amount, yet the UK problem gambling rate is 0.7 per cent, the same rate as Victoria and higher than the rate in New South Wales and Queensland,” Anthony Ball said.

Contact: Carissa Simons 0417 348 659

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