Calls for new and heightened controls on gambling advertising and on pokies across Australia by crossbenchers, Senator Nick Xenophon and Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie, have been pushed back by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, according to the Australian Financial Review.
Last week, the two independent federal politicians promised to use their new political power to put problem gambling back on the political agenda. In addition to imposing a mandatory $1 maximum bet on the nation’s pokies, the duo called on the government to ban gambling-related advertisements during G-rated television broadcasts, including sporting events.
The move was slammed by lobbying group Clubs Australia, which said that imposing a $1 maximum bet would not only come with a $1.5 billion price tag but that it would not be effective in aiding problem gamblers. Under the proposal, pubs and clubs would be forced to implement additional technology to poker machines to limit single bets to $1 and losses to $120 per hour. Wilke and Xenophon said in a statement, “Clubs Australia, with the support of governments has introduced a range of evidence-based, cost-effective and targeted solutions to help address problem gambling, such as the world-first online Multi-Venue Self-Exclusion (MVSE) (pdf) system, club chaplaincy and counselling services,” according to the news agency.
Tudge, however, said that problem gambling was already being addressed through new legislation. He said that when parliament sits again the government’s own legislation addressing problem gambling will be prioritized. In addition to a self-exclusion register, the Human Services Minister said that will include a voluntary pre-commitment scheme. In a statement, Tudge said, “The Turnbull Government is implementing the most significant package of reforms ever put in place by an Australian Government to combat problem gambling, in response to the O’Farrell Review into Illegal Offshore Wagering,” according to the Daily Telegraph.