While gambling remains a popular past time in Australia, the government of New South Wales (NSW) isn’t particularly fond of the activity. Prior to last week, the Alliance for Gambling Reform requested that the ban on pokies include the reduction of the amount of time gambling on these machines or to ban them altogether.
Given that Australians are known for their uninhibited gambling behaviour, the possibility of this ban becoming law was hard to fathom. However, recently there has been a push, supported by the Northern Beaches Council, to decrease the number of gambling machines.
Last Tuesday, The Northern Beaches Council met to discuss the reduction of gambling. The matter was put to the vote, and the majority were in support of the reduction; making The Northern Beaches Council the second city to install such a policy.
Ban gains Momentum After Problem Gambling Suicide
The decision to reduce gambling on pokies catapulted into focus after the death of Gary Van Duinen. Van Duinen committed suicide due to an out of control gambling problem, and his mother has been the driving force behind the ban.
The ban includes the following changes:
- Reduction of gambling time
- Restriction on the amount of money withdrawn from ATM’s
- Changes to self-exclusion policies to allow family members to self-exclude on the player’s behalf
Pat Daley, Northern Beaches Councillor said: “this is a real milestone for local government. We want to work very closely with the pubs and clubs, not against them.” Daley added that the outcome from “ongoing consultation and regular meetings” will be incorporated into the policy.
The changes were positively welcomed by the Alliance for Gambling Reform and its Director, Tim Costello, said: the NSW coalition government has capitulated to the gambling industry for the past eight years and now it is time for the Premier Gladys Berejiklian to promise she won’t sign another four-year memorandum of understanding with the NSW’s clubs.”
Costello was referring to the previous agreement between the government and the NSW’s clubs. In the agreement, the government agreed that to “retain existing gaming machine operating conditions, with proposed changes subject to rigorous assessment including cost-benefit analysis and consultation.”
Given the push and support from The Northern Beaches, it seems that the previous agreement will soon be amended.
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