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Pressure for gambling reform

One of the principle moral challenges facing NSW politicians during this election campaign is how to balance the need for gambling reform against pressure from cashed-up pubs and clubs who donate to political parties and demand relaxing rather than tightening the law.

Both the Premier, Kristina Keneally, and Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell have indicated they do not support calls by church and community leaders for gambling reform.

There is pressure on the federal government to act, but NSW and the other states would also need to move on gambling if the changes recommended by Senator Nick Zenophon and Mr Andrew Wilkie are to be effective.

Mr Wilkie confirmed this week that his support for the Gillard government hinged on whether it implemented a mandatory pre-commitment system that allowed poker machine players to put limits on their gambling.

Governments are elected by ordinary people, not by big business.  An undertaking by Ms Keneally or Mr O’Farrell to support a mandatory pre-commitment system would give voters a clear choice at the ballot box on March 26.  It’s time for leadership. 

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 27 Feb 2011.

Categories: Uncategorized

Rod Benson

Theologian, researcher, teacher, writer, foodie, husband, dad. Works at Moore Theological College.

2 replies

  1. I’ll never forget the day a man’s body was found hanging in front of a classroom in the suburbs. He had ended his own life before the debt collectors did it to him. He was in impossible debt. He had already borrowed all he could from friends and relatives. There is no way that he could repay all his debtors. He was a man with an addiction to gambling. His addiction was out of control. Where was the harm in that? He left grieving family and friends still laden with his debts. There was also the terrible loss of potential for a young Australian life. He had the right to constantly gamble but he had the responsibility to pay back his debts. His potential for harm was great. Should society via the government provided some tools for self control over his addiction? I think so.

  2. The number of ways in which someone can gamble is out of control. Scratch cards at the counter of every newsagent (along with rows and rows of chocolate bars and other rubbish), TAB facilities in my local RSL (along with poker machines and Keno), poker machines in every pub (and most pubs open extended hours).

    It’s like the junk food “restaurants” in some suburbs of Sydney; saturation. Yet it’s still not enough.

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