Pokie stake reduction would cost AUS$3.6bn

Pokie stake reduction would cost AUS$3.6bn

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Gaming Technologies Association said money would be better spent on direct support

The gambling industry in Australia has moved quickly into action to counter a push by independent MPs to impose more restrictions on the business.  

Senator Nick Xenophon and Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie have both already lobbied for a drop in stake for pokie machines to AUS$1 and a ban on gambling advertising at certain times, and given the very slim majority of the Liberal–National Coalition government, there is speculation that they might get their way.

However the Gaming Technologies Association (GTA) has pointed out that such a move might actually be a huge waste of money just to satisfy a soundbite. 

GTA chief executive Ross Ferrar suggested that limiting bets to $1 would cost approximately $3.6bn as 64% of the country’s machine estate would have to be replaced as they are over five years in age. It was suggested that this would be the most expensive and least effective way to reduce the incidence of problem gambling.

He said: “The question must be asked, who is going to meet this cost? Access to direct support and counselling is the best and most effective way to help people with gambling issues, the GTA strongly supports initiatives to direct greater effort in this area.

“The gaming industry, community and government have been working together for many years to create a properly regulated and responsible industry. Poker machines are a legitimate leisure activity that many Australians enjoy responsibly.”

GTA also said claims made regarding the design of poker machines operating in the Australian market ignore clear facts about the strict legal and compliance obligations of the Australian gaming industry.

Ferrar was not happy at some of the impliactions that machines weren't fair: “Let’s stick to the facts. Australia has one of the most stringent regulatory environments for poker machines in the world. Regulators impose comprehensive conditions on every aspect of poker machine design and operation.

“To be clear, State Government regulations in Australia expressly prohibit ‘near miss’ machines and there is no disguising the outcome of any bet. Machines clearly display one of two possible outcomes — a win or a loss — for each and every bet.

“Bet limits in Australia are among the lowest, and play speed the slowest in the world.”

Meanwhile the Australian Wagering Council (AWC) has said it is keen to work with the Federal Government to deal with concerns over advertising.

Chief Executive Ian Fletcher said: “Australians need and deserve a balanced and national wagering framework. It should include consistent regulation of advertising content, volume and placement. The position of AWC members on wagering advertising continues to evolve in response to community views. AWC members have listened to the concerns raised by the community and have told the government they want to engage to get acceptable advertising regulation in place.”

Totally Gaming Says: “The gambling industry is politicised at the best of times, but with a slim government majority, there is unlikely to be much let up for the whole duration of this Parliament, especially with Nick Xenophon now having his own fledgling political party to put the pressure on for more gambling restrictions.”

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