SA-BEST GAMBLING REFORM POLICIES WILL DRAMATICALLY REDUCE POKIES ADDICTION AND COMMUNITY HARM
- And burgeoning online gambling will be targeted too
SA-BEST leader, Nick Xenophon, says its gambling reform policy unveiled today is "the best and most credible way forward to deliver real gambling reform in SA."
The policy is two-pronged, tackling both poker machines and online gambling.
The poker machine policy seeks to dramatically reduce the harm caused by a number of measures including:
- Reducing the number of poker machines in hotels by 50% over five years (for venues with more than 10 machines) which will reduce the number of machines by approximately 4000 from the current figure of approximately 12100 in hotels and clubs.
- Implementing $1 maximum bets per spin (as recommended by the Productivity Commission) and reducing maximum jackpots to $500, so losses per hour are dramatically reduced.
- Having a 'buyback' scheme of poker machines in the over 140 venues with 10 or fewer machines.
- Making machines 'con-free' by removing misleading and deceptive features such as near misses and 'losses disguised as wins'.
- Poker machine licences to be converted to seven year licences, commencing 1 January 2019, with consideration of licence extensions beyond that seven year period to be considered by the parliament by the end of 2022 (so it becomes a key issue for the March 2022 election).
- Providing for an orderly economic and employment transition for the changes through the Independent Gambling Authority with a transition fund established, with preference given to those smaller poker machine operators, and those in regional areas.
- A $3m increase in gamblers' rehabilitation funding and community education, given that only 10-15% of those addicted are currently getting help.
- EFTPOS to be removed from poker machine rooms.
- A ban on political donations from the gambling industry.
SA-BEST will also seek to tackle the exponential increase in online gambling by:
- Enhancing the power of the Authorised Betting Operations Act to restrict the types of bets that can be offered in SA, including 'exotic bets' and 'ball by ball' betting.
- Allocating resources to prosecute and geo-block illegal online casinos in cooperation with federal authorities.
"The SA-BEST policies are the best way to reduce gambling harm in our state. Our policies will be a key negotiating plank to keep the next government of SA accountable on such an important issue, should we have the seats in parliament to influence that change."
"The major parties seem beholden to the poker machine lobby and the fact that the pokies barons and the AHA are making huge donations to the major parties, and the Australian Conservatives, and unleashing a massive campaign against SA-BEST indicates they are worried at the prospect of real reform."
You can read SA-BEST's full Gambling Reform Policy here.