2nd November, 2012
The introduction of proposed national gambling reform legislation into Federal Parliament yesterday has been welcomed by gambling reform advocates as a step in the right direction.
Under the proposed legislation, all poker machines will be required to be fitted with pre-commitment technology by 2016 and ATM withdrawal limits of $250 will be introduced from February next year.
Rev Tim Costello, chairman of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, says the measures - and others in the legislation - will provide greater protection for problem gamblers and people at risk.
"We believe the legislation is a good start, but further reform is essential," he said. "Voluntary pre-committment is about as safe as voluntary speed limits on the road."
Meanwhile the Australian Christian Lobby said the proposed legislation established the important precedent of federal intervention in poker machine regulation. But Jim Wallace, the ACL's managing director, said the legislation is still only a small step in the right direction.
“Pre-commitment technology and ATM withdrawal limits are an important start, but it will only go so far in alleviating the destructive force of poker machine addiction,” he said. “Problem gamblers will not be required to commit to how much they will lose, and it will not be difficult to get around the ATM withdrawal limits.”
Advocates - including the taskforce and ACL - are also calling for $1 maximum bets.
- DAVID ADAMS