Survey reveals support for stronger poker machine reform

Survey reveals support for stronger poker machine reform

An overwhelming 70 per cent of the Australian electorate support serious poker machine reform to stem the losses suffered by people addicted to poker machines, a new survey by AMR Research has found.

By comparison, just two-in-ten Australians believed no further action on poker machine gambling was required at this time.

The Rev. Tim Costello, speaking on behalf of the Stop The Loss Coalition, said the survey results showed the electorate’s appetite for serious reform was as strong as ever and the Government’s proposed legislation needs to go further.

“These figures underline the overwhelming support and the strong resolve in the electorate for real poker machine reform, and that includes Australians who intend to vote Labor,” Mr Costello said.

“They also put a lie to the deceitful campaign run by the clubs that suggested there was not majority support for reform.

“The Productivity Commission recommended two years ago that Australian poker machines should be slowed down to $1 bets limiting losses to a maximum of $120 an hour.

“What emerged from the survey is a massive 83 per cent of respondents this month supported this measure, and the figure for intending ALP voters was even higher at 90 per cent.

“This is a very significant majority who are saying to our elected representatives that the proposed legislation does not go far enough. I would urge all parties, particularly the Government, to act on this message and strengthen the legislation.”

The highlight figures from the survey include:

  • A combined 70% of respondents support the introduction of either a mandatory pre-commitment system or maximum $1 per spin bets on poker machines; just 21% support no further action.
  • 70% support a mandatory pre-commitment system in the absence of a maximum bet of $1 per spin.
  • 83% of the general population and 90% of intending ALP voters support a maximum $1 bet per spin on poker machines that limits losses to an average of $120 per hour in the absence of a mandatory pre-commitment system;
  • 70% support Andrew Wilkie’s decision to withdraw his automatic support for the Gillard Government as a result of the Prime Minister reneging on her written agreement.

The ARM-Australia survey results follow a Monash University report last week that people living in disadvantaged areas lost a much greater percentage of their income on poker machines compared to those in more affluent areas.

In one suburb, poker machine losses average more than third of the electorate’s median income for that proportion of the population estimated to use poker machines.

The community benefit the poker machine operators claimed to return to the community accounted for just 1.4 per cent of the money lost on the machines.


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