For immediate release – 31 May 2013
The President of the NSW Council of Churches, the Reverend Dr Ross Clifford, has congratulated the NSW Government on launching an ambitious research project to help determine the most effective form of prevention and treatment for damage caused by gambling products.
“We have long argued that problem gambling should be addressed on the basis of harm minimization and consumer protection. We welcome the announcement that the NSW Government will spend up to $290,000 to commission research on the harm associated with gambling products such as scratch lotteries, poker machines, casino games, horse racing and sports betting,” Dr Clifford said.
The research, to be carried out by the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing, could provide factual base for a proposed independent parliamentary inquiry into the social impact of problem gambling, which the NSW Council of Churches has repeatedly called for in recent months. NSW is the State with the highest incidence of problem gambling, and we should take the initiative in finding solutions.
“I appreciate that the Premier wants to wait until after the federal election on September 14 before launching a parliamentary inquiry, but there is no good reason to delay setting the inquiry’s terms of reference,” Dr Clifford said.
“The NSW Council of Churches is also disappointed that a bill has passed allowing NSW clubs to introduce casino-like multi-terminal gaming machines, indicating how hard it is for the Coalition and the Labor Party in NSW to distance themselves from the powerful influence of the gambling industry lobby.”
“We congratulate the Christian Democratic Party, the Shooters and Fishers Party, and the NSW Greens for opposing the bill which was sadly supported by the major parties.”
“There should be no more liberalization of gambling laws until an independent parliamentary inquiry into the social impact of problem gambling has had time to table its report,” Dr Clifford said.
Media contact Rod Benson 0412 421 678