Gambling reform has been headline news again this week with independent MP Andrew Wilkie and the Greens claiming they won’t support the Gillard Government’s reform bills, putting at risk the proposed trial of pre-commitment technology in the ACT.
But to be successful, gambling reform must engage the states. NSW has around 50 per cent of the nation’s poker machines, and more problem gamblers than any other state. NSW also has a stable government, strong informed political voices, and the numbers needed to achieve reform.
No one genuinely concerned about the impact of problem gambling on individuals and communities in NSW wants to wait for a federal inquiry to report on federal issues. This is an issue for the states and NSW should take the lead.
The NSW Council of Churches supports mandatory pre-commitment technology and a $1 maximum bet limit for poker machines, and has called on the NSW Government to hold a wide-ranging inquiry into the gambling industry.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 4 Mar 2012.