For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 9 Feb 2014.
New research reveals that Australians gamble more, and lose more, than any other country. A report published in The Economist estimates Australian gambling losses at about $1,144 per resident.
Monash University gambling researcher Dr Charles Livingstone confirmed that Australia has the highest concentration of poker machines per capita in the world, with the largest clusters of pokies in socially disadvantaged areas along the east coast, fuelling domestic violence, crime and mental illness.
The Reverend Tim Costello, chairman of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, said Australians are only the world’s biggest punters because they have the most opportunity to “fritter cash away,” and poker machine reform needs to stay on the government agenda.
This is most urgent in NSW, where we have one third of the nation’s population and half the country’s poker machines, damaging families and posing serious risks to public health.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.