Pokies legislation goes from bad to worse

Posted by
29th November 2012

After the failure of government to take up meaningful reform to curb the harm caused by poker machine gambling our campaign to push the two big players, Coles and Woolworths to make their poker machines safer is even more important. Coles may be at a tipping point, about to make a decision about the future of their poker machines.1 Click here to write to Wesfarmers Managing Director, Richard Goyder to ask Coles to clean up their act on pokies.

The Federal Government pokies legislation compromise has gone from bad to worse. Yesterday the Australian Parliament finally passed poker machines legislation, but unfortunately that legislation is unlikely to have any impact on problem gambling. The poker machine industry had already convinced the Government to abandon its commitment to meaningful reform and instead adopt voluntary pre-commitment – a technology that the evidence suggests will be a failure.  In the last week the clubs movement has been lobbying hard in the lead up to the vote on the legislation. With the help of an amendment from lower house independent MP, Tony Windsor, voluntary pre-commitment won’t be implemented until 2018 at the earliest, more than two Federal elections away.

Some agencies that have been working on poker machine reform over a long period of time have been celebrating this legislation as progress, however small. Sadly, it also represents a huge missed opportunity to make a real difference for addicted gamblers, their families and communities.

Key parts of the package:

  • Voluntary pre-commitment, which gives gamblers the option to decide at the start of play how much they want to gamble, will be in place from 2018 – delayed by 2 years from 2016.
  • Mandatory pre-commitment, which requires gamblers to nominate how much they are willing to lose at the start of play and limits their gambling to that amount, will be trialed in the ACT in 2013 and reviewed in 2014.
  • Electronic warnings on machines will be in place from 2016.
- $250 withdrawal limits on ATMs in hotels and clubs.
  • The technological changes make it possible to activate mandatory pre-commitment in the future but there’s no commitment to that now.
  • The creation of a new gambling regulatory body.
  • establishment and funding for the National Gambling Research Commission.

Now more than ever we need leadership on poker machine reform from outside of government. While Wesfarmers, the company that owns Coles are considering the future of their poker machines business it’s important that they hear from community members asking them to step up and do the right thing. Click here to write to Wesfarmers Managing Director, Richard Goyder to ask Coles to clean up their act on pokies.

1 Sydney Morning Herald, Coles mulls $1 limit on pokies, 26 November 2012.

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  • anon

    Dear Getup!,
    The AFR report that Roger Allen, your single biggest donor ($100,000), owns the online pokies company NextGen gaming. An Australia woman was just report as having lost a staggering $7.8 million she stole from her company, on the online pokie Doctor Love which is made by NextGen gaming.
    Will you be giving back the $100,000 donation?
    Will you be asking NextGen gaming to put a $1 max bet limit their online pokies as you did for Woolworths?

  • Fred

    A tough question and one i don’t expect GetUP! to answer.Maybe the plan to ban cripple/slander woolworths pokie machine arm is designed to help out GetUP’s biggest donors gambling company?

  • Mark

    Getup has already addressed this concern – They are targeting Woolworths as the biggest owner/operator of pokie machines. I’m sure given unlimited resources they would pursue all operators.

    Also Getup’s single largest donor is Roger Allen, who is a director of Allen & Buckeridge which has a financial interest in NextGen, not a direct connection from NextGen to Getup. This issue did trigger an internal review on how getup is handling donations- http://afr.com/p/national/getup_challenged_over_donor_wxEvir0MCMhoL2LEJjn5JJ

  • http://getup.org.au Kelsey

    Thanks Mark! You beat us to the punch. Anon, I hope the AFR link above explains. Any further concerns? Email us: info@getup.org.au.

  • anon

    I hardly think sending an open letter to the Allen & Buckeridge board, as the controlling shareholder in NextGen Gaming, and asking them to implement a $1 maxium bet on all there online pokies would be a massive drain on Getup’s resources. Probably more likely to get an outcome than with Woolworths or Coles

  • Ash

    I wholeheartedly support this campaign.

  • Ashley

    I wholeheartedly support this campaign

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