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A statement regarding the Coalition's poker machine policy



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27 August 2013

A STATEMENT REGARDING THE COALITION’S POKER MACHINE POLICY

The Liberal-National Coalition’s policy on poker machine reform is disappointing but not surprising.

Like the Labor Party, the Coalition has shown that they are completely beholden to the poker machine industry.

The Coalition’s proposal to revert to industry self-regulation is the wrong approach. Self-regulation hasn’t worked because the gambling industry is only concerned with protecting its profits and doesn’t care about the harm caused to problem gamblers.

The Coalition’s reliance on counselling and support services is also misguided. Counselling is just one part of the picture. We should be looking at preventing problem gambling rather than trying to pick up the pieces after someone’s life has been torn apart by poker machine addiction.

The Coalition would also seek to roll out venue based voluntary pre-commitment. Crucially, there is no mention in their policy of machines being mandatory pre-commitment ready which is the crucial element of the Labor Government’s watered-down pokies policy. The evidence, including from the Productivity Commission, clearly shows that voluntary pre-commitment by itself is next to useless when it comes to reducing poker machine harm.

Make no mistake. The Coalition is putting political expediency and the self-interest of the gambling industry ahead of protecting vulnerable Australians.

Poker machine problem gambling costs Australians approximately $5bn each year and has hurt millions of people. It’s simply way beyond time for the major parties to do something really effective about it, starting with the Productivity Commission’s recommendations for $1 maximum bets and mandatory pre-commitment.

For more information: Django Merope-Synge 0428 528 673