Wilkie and Xenophon at odds on Mandatory Pre-Commitment

The difficulty of convincing people that you can help problem gamblers by giving them a gambling card is getting to Senator Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie, with the pair making conflicting statements about mandatory pre-commitment’s usefulness to those with a gambling addiction.

Andrew Wilkie has in today’s AGE newspaper again claimed that mandatory pre-commitment works by giving “problem gamblers moments of clarity”.

This claim is at odds with a recent letter by Senator Xenophon that states that “The reforms are designed to moderate gambling practices to prevent recreational gamblers from becoming problem gamblers.”

Mr Wilkie has previously stated that he “would not support any system that goes beyond targeting problem gamblers.”

Clubs Australia Executive Director Anthony Ball said Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon are now claiming different types of gamblers will be targeted by their mandatory pre-commitment gambling cards.

“The pair seem completely confused by who they are trying to help. Andrew Wilkie says mandatory pre-commitment will target problem gamblers. Nick Xenophon says it will target recreational gamblers.

“This sort of contradiction was always going to happen given the pair have refused all attempts to run a meaningful trial of mandatory pre-commitment despite support from clubs, the Productivity Commission and even Federal Government MPs.

“Leading problem gambling experts including Professor Alex Blaszczynski, Dr Sally Gainsbury and Dr Clive Allcock have all rejected mandatory pre-commitment because of its failure to help problem gamblers.

“It’s common sense that the problem gambler will be first in line for a licence and will set unrealistically high limits. Now Andrew Wilkie admits that anyone living near a state border will be able to get around his $3 billion technology by simply crossing over,” Anthony Ball said.

Clubs Australia has written to all Government MPs, highlighting the inconsistency in Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon’s claims about mandatory pre-commitment. The letter also outlines other inconsistencies such as the pairs’ recent claim Norway does not have a comparable mandatory pre-commitment system despite claims to the contrary remaining on Nick Xenophon’s website today.

The letter highlights previous criticisms Nick Xenophon has made of $1 max bets before his recent conversion to the idea as a means of distancing himself from mandatory pre-commitment and the licence to punt.

The letter also quotes directly from the Productivity Commission’s report into gambling, who make their support for a trial of mandatory pre-commitment explicitly clear in recommendation 19.2. The truth of the complete lack of any evidence suggesting that mandatory pre-commitment will reduce problem gambling is clear for all to see.

For a copy of Clubs Australia’s letter to MPs please click here: http://www.clubsnsw.com.au/circulars/ResponseXeno.pdf