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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

mandatory limits on gambling « Previous | |Next »
April 14, 2011

I have been watching the debate around the introduction of mandatory limits on gambling in the pub-clubs sector and I applaud Andrew Wilkies' attempts to ensure that this happens at pokies' venues in order to curb problem gambling.

He says that he will withdraw his support for, and hence collapse, the Gillard government by this time next year if it has not passed legislation giving the Commonwealth the power to force the states to comply with the betting limits.

Some hotels, from what I can gather, rely on poker machines for 70 to 80 per cent of their earnings whilst several Victorian AFL clubs (eg., Collingwood, Essendon and Hawthorn) have pinned their financial security to growth in the gaming machine sector. The clubs, continue to present themselves as supporting the communities in which they do so much damage.


Labor has promised to introduce laws requiring poker machine players to commit on how much they will spend by 2014 in exchange for independent MP Andrew Wilkie's support in forming its minority government. The pub-clubs sector is outraged at the proposed Wilkie-Xenophon legislative reforms, and it is committed to preventing the introduction of the legislation.

Wilkie faces an uphill battle with his legislative reforms in terns of finding support in the House of Representatives. The Liberals are opposed as is the NSW state government. That leaves the Independents who currently look as if they have cold feet, even though the proposed reforms are reasonable.

As Tim Costello points out in The Age the proposed reforms are not a ban:

The government's proposal is to require players to set loss limits before they start playing. Once over that limit, they are locked out of further play from all machines. It gives them back control by forcing them to not just chase their losses or believe they are just one win away from not having a problem. Clubs and pubs know that 40 per cent of their revenue comes from problem gamblers (the finding of the Productivity Commission) and do not want their revenues affected by giving players more control.

Innocent people are being hurt by the pokies from the ripple effects of crime and family suffering. A card curtails the damage as it locks players out once they cross their own set limits.

The Clubs and Hotel sector sound like the Tobacco industry.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:18 AM | | Comments (7)


No doubt this will be an unpopular view... but...

I've given up on some of my fellow citizens. As in the case of people who enlist in our military... I have come to the conclusion that anyone reckless/desperate/misinformed enough to get into these situations has only themselves to blame if it goes horribly wrong.

There are lots and lots of things in this world that are almost GUARANTEED to turn unpleasant. So, ya makes yer choices...

Grog's Gamut [Greg Jericho] has an exceptionally brilliant and informative post, also in The Drum, on this topic.
I can't link at the moment, dunno why, but people should be able to use Google to get it.

Grog's Gamut [Greg Jericho]'s article is linked in the above post under gambling In it he says that the Productivity Commission found that the people contributing to the clubs and hotel revenue from poker machines are not all just having a “flutter”:

About 4 per cent of adults play gaming machines weekly or more often. Around 15 per cent of this group would be classified as problem gamblers, with around an additional 15 per cent experiencing moderate risks. And their share of total spending on machines is estimated to range around 40 per cent.

The Commission states that the net benefits could be much larger if governments reduced the costs through effective prevention and harm minimisation policies such as people choosing for themselves how much they are prepared to lose.

Ta Nan, I know I should check out every link in a post before jumping in.

Much of the discussion on the economic impacts of any reduction in employment following reduction in money spent on gambling fails to realise that the money not spent there will be spent elsewhere in the community with no net loss of jobs

The best way to limit people is to remove the ability to insert paper notes into the machines. Then change the coin slots back to accept 20c only.
This would be an instant solution but I'll bet ya 5 bucks it'll never happen.

Quite right Gary. Not only do they sound like the tobacco industry, they sound like the alcohol industry. I posted on The Drum when all the furore about alcopops arose ( and made the more general comparison with gambling and tobacco.

When listening to these self-serving club protests it needs to be remembered that it isn't very long ago that there were NO poker machines, and clubs served the community perfectly well. Indeed better by not creating, and enabling, problem gamblers.

It is disheartening to hear representatives of tobacco, alcohol and gambling industries demanding that their profits remain high, and indeed grow, with absolutely no concern for the effects on the community. Drug dealers I suppose might be the same.