Gambling reform is back on the agenda in the new Parliament.
“We will be introducing legislation to rein in the harm caused by poker machines, including by implementing the Productivity Commission’s recommendations of $1 maximum bets.”
- Productivity Commission 2010 report indicated Australians lose $19 billion per year to gambling, nationwide
- This averages to $1500 per gambling adult
- About 600,000 Australians (4% of the population) gamble weekly or more
- About 15% of regular players are problem gamblers – that’s 90,000 people
- Many problem gamblers are low income earners
- Social cost of gambling found to be around $4.7 billion a year
Andrew Wilkie – Independent Member of Parliament
Nick Xenophon – Independent Senator
Tim Costello – Anti-gambling campaigner, World Vision CEO
Independent politicians Andrew Wilkie MP and Senator Nick Xenophon, with the support of Tim Costello, have pledged to fight for reforms to Australian gambling legislation. They are calling for the current maximum poker machine bet to reduced from $5 to $1; for sports betting advertisements to be banned during G-rated television screening of sports events; and other strategies to tackle problem gambling.
Because the government benefits from the gambling industry – both in the form of taxes and political donations – and because the gambling industry will campaign against any meaningful reform, the government has tended to back down from any commitments to introduce gambling reforms. Wilkie and Xenophon will have to work to gain the support of the parliament in order to see their goals realised.