Government should ‘break its gambling addiction’

Read Government should ‘break its gambling addiction’

The Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney has again requested the New South Wales government to implement effective harm-minimisation measures, with one senior minister saying the government “needs to break its gambling addiction”. 

Canon Sandy Grant of Wollongong (pictured) says Australians currently lose over $18 billion each year on gambling, an average of around $1300 per adult Australian, and that poker machines are by far the biggest contributor to the losses. 

“Of course many Australians do not gamble at all, and so the losses for some are far greater and they're concentrated in lower socio-economic areas, where poker machine concentration is often higher and the rate of individual machine use is also higher.” Canon Grant said. “So, the impact on the families of problem gamblers who contribute something like 40% of these losses, is appalling.”

Synod passed a motion that it “laments deeply that more than a year later, there has been no significant response from the NSW Government towards the recommendations in the report of the NSW Legislative Council’s Select Committee on the Impact of Gambling published in August 2014.”

Synod wanted the committees recommendations implemented, including measures such as  a $1 maximum bet limit for poker machines, stopping the disproportionate concentration of poker machines in lower socio-economic areas and developing a scheme that requires venues to intervene to assist problem gamblers.

“But the biggest gambling addict in Australia is the NSW Government” Mr Grant told Southern Cross. “Successive governments of both stripes have been addicted to the revenue raised from highly regressive gambling taxation.”

“Mr Baird and Mr Foley are both professing Christians. As a matter of justice and care for the vulnerable, it would be wonderful to see a bipartisan leadership effort from them to face down the mighty vested interests of the pubs and clubs gambling industry interests and to make real effective changes for the welfare of those devastated by problem gambling.” Canon Grant said.

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