Bill Crews supports pokies reform

Sydney Uniting Church minister Rev Bill Crews

The decision by Father Chris Riley to support Clubs Australia in its fight against the federal government’s poker machine reforms has prompted a strong response from the newly formed NSW Churches Gambling Taskforce.

Rev Bill Crews, chair of the NSW Taskforce, said that counselling was an important part of helping people overcome addiction to poker machines, but preventing the problem in the first place was essential public policy.

He said “Under the reforms [being considered by the Gillard government], all players will have to decide ahead of time how much they are willing to lose.  This can be as high or low as the individual chooses.  In the cold light of day, away from the ‘zone,’ problem gamblers are telling us they are able to make sensible decisions.”

He said “Mandatory pre-commitment will, as part of a range of measures, help poker machine addicts who are ready to help themselves.  More importantly, it will help people who are at risk from developing a problem.  And that’s good public policy.”

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 18 December 2011.

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