ClubsAustralia has told the parliamentary committee on gambling that the Federal Government’s plan to force limits on how much people can bet on poker machines will not reduce problem gambling.
Executive Director of ClubsAustralia Anthony Ball told the committee that the technology has failed to reduce problem gambling in Norway, which is the only country in the world to have installed mandatory pre-commitment technology on poker machines.
“The Norwegian Government admits that the rate of problem gambling has actually increased over the past 3 years. Not surprisingly, gamblers have simply switched from poker machines to the internet where credit card betting is allowed.
“Mandatory pre-commitment in Norway has failed to deliver what it promised. The country is barely one third of the size of NSW, and yet the Norwegian Government has managed to link just 2,300 machines in the last 2 years. At that rate it’ll take more than 170 years to network all of Australia.
“The anti-gambling lobby has tried to use the existence of pre-commitment technology in Norway as justification for their refusal to trial the system in Australia.
“But this claim ignores a recommendation from the Productivity Commission that the technology should be trialled in one state or territory.
“There has never been a trial of this technology in Australia. Andrew Wilkie knows this, the Federal Government knows this, anyone who has read the Productivity Commission’s report into gambling knows this.
“Experts are lining up to reveal this technology for the multi-billion dollar lemon that it is.
“Already Australia’s leading problem gambling researcher has said mandatory pre-commitment won’t reduce problem gambling and could actually delay people from getting help.
“Forcing clubs to spend billions of dollars on a network so the Federal Government can know how much people are gambling will only kill off clubs and their support for community and sporting groups.
“Andrew Wilkie has already admitted this technology will have a central database with people’s gambling history recorded. Australians have made it abundantly clear they simply won’t accept such an intrusion into their spending and leisure habits,” Anthony Ball said.
Below is what Andrew Wilkie told the ABC’s 7.30 Report on 2 September last year:
“Something like a swipe card or USB plug. Some means by which individual gamblers can be recognised by the machines and recognised by the network of machines, so we can keep track of problem gamblers, machines can shut down when a problem gambler has exceeded reasonable limits, where loss amounts per hour can be regulated.”
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