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Gambling reforms to be wound back

On the 20 November 2013, the Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews introduced the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 to the House of Representatives. Among a host of amendments to various social welfare, higher education and income support arrangements, the Bill proposes to significantly wind back national gambling reforms that were intended to address problem gambling associated with electronic gaming machines (EGMs), or pokies.The National Gambling Reform Act 2012 will be renamed the National Gambling Measures Act, with a shift in emphasis to encouraging responsible gambling. When the Act was passed in November 2012, it established a national regulatory regim... Read more...

Addressing harms from pokies: insights from new reports

Some recent reports are reminders that addressing problem gambling harms associated with electronic gaming machines or pokies remains challenging, but progress is possible. The first report evaluates the decision to ban Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) from pokies venues in Victoria. The second quantifies the harms of pokies gambling in Victoria, prior to the removal of ATMs, while the third summarises lessons learnt from pre-commitment trials in South Australia.The first report is an evaluation of the Victorian Government decision to remove ATMs from pokie venues. From July 2012, venues in Victoria were required to remove their ATM dispensers—EFTPOS facilities remained unchanged. The ratio... Read more...

Socioeconomic dimensions of pokie machine losses

A recent Age article has highlighted the disproportionate financial losses incurred from pokie machine gambling in low income areas of Victoria, when compared to higher income areas. Using statistics from the Victorian regulator the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), Craig Butt compared net weekly expenditure per adult (ie player losses) on pokies across local government areas (LGAs), with the average weekly income of those LGAs based on census data provided to the Age.In 2010–11 in Greater Dandenong, where average weekly income was reported to be $426, pokie losses were $1110 per adult. In wealthier Boroondara where average income was $836 per week average loss... Read more...

Draft legislation on pokies reform released

  The Government on Friday released draft legislation on proposed reforms to address problem gambling, particularly related to electronic gaming machines (EGMs, or pokies). The release comes at the same time Clubs ACT have reportedly given in principle agreement to a trial of mandatory pre-commitment technology on EGMs in clubs in the ACT, pending further negotiations with the Government. The draft legislation does not address this pokies trial; rather it proposes technical modifications to EGMs to enable pre-commitment technology, a time frame for these changes, limits to cash in pokie venues and the introduction of new levies. Implementation of a uniform mandatory pre-commitment system a... Read more...

Electronic gaming machines: lessons from Norway

In recent months both sides in the contentious debate around mandatory pre-commitment (MPC)—where players would have to pre-set the amount they were prepared to lose on electronic gaming machines (EGMs)—have cited 'evidence' from Norway to support their respective arguments. As this Parliamentary Library Background Note explains, supporters of MPC have pointed to Norway to argue in favour of MPC. Meanwhile, those opposed to MPC, including those in the clubs industry, argue that the evidence from Norway shows that MPC won't work. How can the same evidence be used to support opposite sides of the argument?Norway banned EGMs in July 2007 in response to ongoing concerns over the harms from probl... Read more...

How many venues would be affected if mandatory pre-commitment is implemented in 2012?

  A significant proportion of gaming venues will be exempt from the proposed reforms to electronic gaming machines (EGMs), at least until 2018. Mr Wilkie's proposal is for venues to introduce mandatory pre-commitment on high intensity EGMs or deploy low intensity machines which have been configured to limit losses to around $120 per hour (or a combination of the two). But the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform Committee Mr Wilkie chaired on the proposed mandatory pre-commitment scheme also recommended (see recommendations 39 & 40 of the Committee's report) that venues with 15 or fewer machines, and those in rural and regional Australia, be exempt from this requirement until ... Read more...

Gambling on the pokies - recommendations for government policy

The Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform has just released a report into the design and implementation of a mandatory pre-commitment system for electronic gaming (poker) machines.The introduction of mandatory pre-commitment technology for poker machines was one of Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie’s key demands in return for support of the minority Gillard government after the last federal election.Under the agreement, Labor agreed to begin implementing pre-commitment technology by 2012, with a full pre-commitment scheme—that is, one that is uniform across all states and territories and machines—commencing in 2014.The Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform was charged with ... Read more...

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