Clubs Express Concern At Gambling Report

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21st October 2009, 05:37pm - Views: 1672
21 October 2009

Clubs Express Concern at Gambling Report

The Productivity Commission's draft report into gambling will dramatically reduce how much Australians gamble each year but will do little to reduce the rate of problem gambling.

The draft report almost exclusively focuses itself on poker machines, virtually ignoring all other forms of gambling including most concerningly, internet betting.

In what appears to be a `try anything' approach to reducing problem gambling, the Productivity Commission has recommended a series of untried and unproven measures including a big brother style card that sets a daily gambling limit for anyone wanting to play a poker machine.

The draft report also recommends a maximum bet of $1 when playing a poker machine while not acknowledging punters can place multi-million dollar amounts on all manner of sporting events and fixtures in other forms of gambling.

A proposed $200 daily limit on ATM cash withdrawals fails to acknowledge multiple studies by governments of all levels during the past few years that have each stated there is insufficient evidence to suggest that reducing ATM daily cash limits below $1,000, reduces problem gambling.

The Commission's support for pre-commitment technology effectively creates a license to gamble for all Australians regardless of whether they are a problem gambler or not.

The technology is the gambling equivalent of telling people how much money they can spend purchasing alcohol or dining at an expensive restaurant.

Clubs Australia Acting CEO Anthony Ball said while governments have a duty to help the 1% of Australians that gamble irresponsibly, it can't be at the expense of the 99% of adults who gamble within their means and as a form of entertainment.

"The Productivity Commission acknowledges in its draft report that inroads into reducing the rate of problem gambling have been made during the past ten years. Clubs have contributed to this reduction by in part, adopting a stance that problem gamblers shouldn't gamble, ever.

"By placing a daily limit on poker machine play but not on all other forms of gambling, the Productivity Commission is simply inviting some problem gamblers to switch from one form of gambling to another.

"Given what we know about internet gambling, the rates of users who are problem gamblers and the way these online companies encourage credit betting, it's hard to believe the Productivity Commission has given them the green light to continue in their current form.

"Problem gambling is a psychological illness that can't be stopped with an identity card. Not when these people can for example gamble online with a credit card where there are no support mechanisms in place, and where they don't even need to leave the house to place a bet.

"While the Club Industry will continue to work on ways of further reducing problem gambling, government must acknowledge that there will always be a small number of people who gamble more than they should. Government should make known what they consider this number to be," he said.

Clubs Australia has other concerns with the Productivity Commission's recommendations and will respond in time upon undertaking a complete reading of the 600 page report.

Jeremy Bath
0419 267 789

Level 8, 51 Druitt Street,
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9268 3000
Fax: (02) 9261 2506

SOURCE: Clubs Australia
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