TACH recently sent letters to Local Members within Tasmania expressing grave concern that the Government has backed away from its previous strong commitment to reforming the gaming machine industry in Australia.
The massive advertising and media campaign against the previous proposed reforms, funded by the corporate gaming sector behind Clubs Australia, does not speak for our communities. We do not have the advertising budget of Clubs Australia but we are working at the local grass-roots level, with our Member organisations in the lowest socio-economic communities in Australia witnessing these machines reaping a horrible impact on our communities.
TACH represents the 34 Tasmanian Neighbourhood Houses who are part of the network of 1000 Neighbourhood Houses across Australia. Each week around 320,000 people participate at the Neighbourhood Centres & Houses across Australia. TACH and the national peak body, ANHCA, will be urging our Member Houses and participants at the Houses to contact their local Members about this issue.
The initial proposed reforms would have enabled people to set limits on their losses before they start gambling and would have helped vulnerable people who are currently destroying their lives, and their families’ lives, through their addictions.
These new watered-down reforms provide only for a trial in the ACT, and a change to poker machines over time to allow for a future government to introduce pre-commitment and bet limits. So even if the trial is successful the government hasn’t committed to implement any reforms.
TACH is asking the Government to act, not just for the individuals addicted to these machines, but for their children and partners. Research shows that between five and 10 people are affected by each problem gambler.
Poker machine problem gamblers lose almost $5 billion each year, a staggering figure pointing to the scale of the tragedy associated with poker machines.
Problem gamblers routinely lose everything including their jobs, family and friends, homes, minds and sometimes even their lives.
There have been many reforms discussed over the last 12 months, and we are urging three key actions. These are in line with the recommendations from the Productivity Commission and the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform:
- That a mandatory pre-commitment scheme apply to all players of high intensity electronic gaming machines,
- That low intensity machines, configured to reliably limit player losses to an average loss of around $120 per hour do not need to be part of the mandatory pre-commitment system.
- The venues have the choice to either run high intensity EGMs with mandatory pre-commitment or low intensity EGMs without pre-commitment enabled, or a combination of both.
For more information please visit www.stoptheloss.org.au