New poll shows australians support mandatory pre commitment
UnitingCare Australia’s National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said an ANU gambling poll provides further evidence that mandatory pre commitment measures for poker machine gambling are supported by a majority of Australians.
Public opinion on Gambling, which is a snap shot of Australian attitudes to gambling and government regulation, suggests most people associate gambling problems with playing poker machines.
“It suggests that while people should have the right to gamble when they want and that government has no right to restrict a person’s gambling, 75 per cent of Australians believe people should be limited to spending an amount they nominate before they start gambling,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
“The Government is currently considering reforms that require all poker machine players to decide ahead of time how much they are willing to lose in any gambling session. These limits can be as high or as low as the player likes.
“No-one is telling them how much they can or can’t spend, but simply that players have to at least think about their losses ahead of time.
“The shame and stigma associated with problem gambling stops people getting help when they need it.
“But mandatory pre commitment measures help to overcome stigma because it requires all players, not just those with a problem, to comply. As part of a raft of measures, mandatory pre commitment will help problem gamblers who are ready to help themselves and limit the likelihood of at-risk gamblers developing a problem.”
Among its findings the poll suggests that:
- Compared to the rest of the adult population, people who gamble on activities other than lottery or scratch tickets are more likely to be male and young. People who gamble on any activity, including lottery or scratch tickets, are more likely to have lower levels of education.
- The public generally believes there are adverse consequences from gambling, is supportive of some degree of government regulation, but does not support banning gambling altogether.
- There was considerable support, even among people who gamble frequently, for the idea that people should be limited to spending an amount they nominate before they start gambling.
- Less than half the respondents thought gambling activities are advertised responsibly and only a third thought that gambling regulations are properly enforced.
- People most often associated gambling problems with poker machines followed by gambling on horse and greyhound races and table games at a casino.
- A substantial proportion (39 per cent) of respondents said they would not know where to go to get help for gambling problems.
- Problem gambling is associated, in the public mind, with alcohol abuse, suicide, marital problems, parental neglect and being less compassionate.
- Attitudes likely to be conducive to stigma and discrimination against people with gambling problems are evident in the community.
- There was little difference between people who gamble often and non-gamblers in terms of these opinions.
The UnitingCare network provides social services to over 2 million people each year across 1,300 sites in regional, rural and metropolitan Australia. The network employs 35,000 people and has 24,000 volunteers.