According to a ClubSafe report, between April and July this year over 150 problem gambling –related cases were reported in South Australia.
ClubSafe is an independent not-for-profit company whose objective is to monitor and identify potential problem gambling and to aid gaming clubs compliance with gaming laws and regulations, among others, throughout South Australia on behalf of the country’s Independent Gambling Authority. The report which was heard by a Liquor Licensing Court described six of the 153 cases involved as poker machine players displaying “aggressive” behavior. All of the defendants listed in the report were male problem gamblers between the ages of 34 and 44. The report was part of the South Australian Jockey Club’s (SAJC) license application.
The SAJC is currently bidding to have about 40 poker machines installed in its new $6 million venue at the former Cheltenham Park Racecourse, which will include a sports bar and restaurant. The project was approved by the Charles Sturt Council’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) last year and consultation was completed months ago. The project faces stiff opposition from the Cheltenham Residents’ Association whose appeal to stop the venue from being built was rejected by the Environment Resources and Development Court in November, 2012. Racecourse operations of the SAJC lose millions, but are able to recoup a portion from poker machine revenue, according to last year’s figures.
The report which has the potential to hurt the SAJC’s chances of getting its poker machines was utilized by Senator Nick Xenophon, a veteran anti-poker machine lobbyist who has fought for restrictions on poker machines, to highlight problem gambling within the state. Xenophon called the system created to protect problem gamblers in South Australia, “a mirage,” according to a Australia’s onlinecasino.com..; specifically electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) machines that the government claims will make monitoring problem gamblers easier, but according to Xenophon just the opposite is true. Poker machines have been legal in South Australia for 20 years, and for the most part “health” warning labels on the side of them have gone unnoticed, but the ClubSafe report just may be the ammunition the opposition needs.
According to the latest report compiled by UK firm, HS Gambling Capital, Aussies bet $1,600 per capita each year beating out Singapore and the U.S. who place second and third respectively. The report puts Australia on the top of the gambling losses world league for betting.