Australian Baptist Ministries has cautiously welcomed the introduction of long-awaited gambling reform legislation in federal parliament, saying it was a small step forward but much more needed to be done to provide consumer protection for gamblers.
The National Gambling Reform Bill 2012 calls for all Australian poker machines to be fitted with voluntary pre-commitment technology by 2016, an ATM cash withdrawal limit of $250 to be operating by February 2015, and the establishment of a federally funded National Gambling Research Commission.
“It is encouraging to see progress being made on federal gambling reform, but Australian Baptist Ministries continues to support the objectives of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce which include adoption of a national mandatory pre-commitment scheme, $1 maximum bets on all electronic gaming machines, and enforcement of restrictions on online gambling,” Director of National Ministries for Australian Baptist Ministries, Reverend Keith Jobberns, said.
“Australian Baptists have a long tradition of advocacy for gambling reform and there is widespread public support for mandatory pre-commitment measures to limit the impact of problem gambling on individuals, families and communities,” Revd Jobberns said.
Former President of Australian Baptist Ministries and Chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, Reverend Tim Costello, said the measures included in the new bill countered one of the gambling industry’s key arguments against reform: that modifying poker machines to enable players to set their loss limits would be expensive and send the industry broke.
Reverend Costello said further reform was essential and voluntary pre-commitment was about as safe as voluntary speed limits on the road.
Media contact Rod Benson 0412 421 678
Australian Baptist Ministries – http://www.baptist.org.au
Director of National Ministries: Revd Keith Jobberns | Mail: P.O. Box 122, Epping NSW 1710
Tel: 02 9868 9222 | Mob: 0409 281 240 | Email: KJobberns@baptist.org.au
National Chair: Revd Dr John Beasy | Mail: 1 Francis Avenue, Broadview SA 5083
Tel: 08 8261 1844 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org