The ACT Greens group is currently working on a program titled Community First that purports to put the future of individuals ahead of big business, pokies, and developers. As part of this initiative, the Greens are pushing for pokie wagers to be maxed out at $1 per spin in Canberra. The group is also pushing to see a pre-commitment for wagering become mandatory. This would see bettors having to decide before they start playing just how much they would be willing to lose.
Shane Rattenbury is the leader of the Greens who stated that the government has been spending far too long ‘tinkering around the edges’, that the problem has not been dealt with in the ACT and that it is time something is done. The policy is an attempt to do something about problem gambling in the ACT.
The National Productivity Commission had made an inquiry into gambling six years ago, in 2010, and recommended the $1 spins on the pokie machines as well as a mandatory pre-commitment on wagering. Currently, the machines have a maximum wager of $10 per spin.
Rattenbury has stated that his support for the pokies is solely based on the two conditions and now the Greens want to see such provisions made to the clubs in Canberra, with nearly 5,000 machines having the restrictions.
It is believed that the Labor Party is not likely to agree with the request of Rattenbury based on what would happen to the Canberra clubs including the club group of the Party. Rattenbury was asked as to how the group considered gambling as a threshold issue and the leader stated that the party has not ranked policies but does consider the pokie machines a key issue. The party plans on using all of their influence to get an outcome that they feel will be beneficial for the community. On top of all their wants for pokie machines, the Greens would like to see as much as 1/3 of the pokie machines removed from circulation within a decade.
The ACT currently has the highest ratio of pokies in the country based on figures released by Michael Mazengarb, a spokesman for Gaming. The ACT offers 16.5 machines per 1,000 adults. By 2018, Labor introduced new ratio figures to take place with 15 machines per 1,000 adults, making this goal last year. However, the party has now stated they will review a cap if they win the government.
The Greens would like to see a ratio of 10 pokie machines per 1,000 adults which would bring ACT down to the national average. The Greens would also like to see clubs increase their community contributions and set a requirement of 10% of profits going to community groups instead of the 8% that is already set. The additional 2% would be placed in a separate account and allow groups to apply for grants.