For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 19 Jan 2014.
It is a matter of national shame for the Economist magazine to report that Australia has easily the highest level of problem gambling per capita in the world. As that article and two Productivity Commission reports, in 1999 and 2010 demonstrate, this is attributed firstly to the widespread ease of accessibility to pokies (where Australia has 20 per cent of the world’s pokies), and secondly to the speed of spin in these electronic gaming machines leading to ravenous play that sees 40 per cent of money put through pokies attributed to problem gamblers.
For Labor members to vote to repeal their own achievements in limiting the damage, most notably the historic federal gambling reform legislation passed in 2012, is equally shocking.
Whatever the political pain the $40 million pokies campaign inflicted on the last Government, every opinion poll shows the public wants limitations placed on pokies because of the damage done to the community fabric and to families.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.