Historic pokies legislation a win for Australian communities

Historic pokies legislation a win for Australian communities

The Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce has congratulated the Federal Government on successfully navigating the historic poker machine reform legislation through the Federal Parliament.

Taskforce Chair, the Rev. Tim Costello said on November 30 the National Gambling Reform Bill 2012 would provide some protection for people who play the pokies, especially those people who are addicted to the machines and other people who are at risk of harm.

The Taskforce also acknowledges the efforts of Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie and the support of the Australian Greens and key Independents.

“Under the new legislation all poker machines will be fitted with pre commitment technology,” Mr Costello said.

“Gamblers will be able to set a limit that applies to all poker machines across the state. The legislation also introduces ATM withdrawal limits of $250 from February 2013.

“These measures and others in the legislation will provide greater protection for people who are living with a gambling addiction and for those people who are at risk of developing a problem.

“We believe the legislation is a solid platform for further reform.

“Members of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce have been long-time advocates for reform.

“Australia’s $12 billion poker machine industry survives largely on the back of vulnerable people in the grip of addiction. Around 40 per cent of total poker machine revenue comes from people addicted to pokies.

“The Taskforce has consistently called for a mandatory pre commitment scheme that requires gamblers in all electronic gaming venues to set spending limits on high loss poker machines. We have also called for $1 maximum bets on all machines limiting losses to $120 an hour, and other consumer protection measures such as reduced access to cash in gambling venues.”

Mr Costello said, “The Government is to be congratulated on this success under such difficult circumstances. It was encouraging to see politics put aside in this hung Parliament as politicians of good will voted in favour of the legislation.”

Members of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce include the heads of Christian churches in Australia and the heads of their social services agencies nationally. It is united by a commitment to reduce the harm caused by poker machine gambling.

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