ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

ACTCOSS welcomes new moves to reduce harm from gambling

29 April 2022

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has welcomed a significant step by the ACT Government towards reducing gambling harm by in the Canberra community.

This follows today’s release by ACT Greens Leader and Attorney General Shane Rattenbury MLA of a discussion paper outlining the proposed changes to reduce harm from gambling for community consultation. The proposals include lowering the bet limit on ACT poker machines from $10 to $5 and introducing a $100 load-up limit.

Along with these suggested limits, the Government has also proposed a mechanism - a Central Monitoring System (CMS) - to support clubs running gaming machines to implement these measures.

ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “These measures respond to long standing advocacy by ACTCOSS, the Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance (CGRA) and other stakeholders campaigning to reduce gambling harm in the ACT.

“The Government has committed to introduce these measures by end of 2022 in its Parliamentary and Governing Agreement and the release of this discussion paper is a major step towards delivering on this promise.

“Reducing the bet limit to $5 will halve the amount of money a person could theoretically spend and lose in one hour of play from $12,000 to $6,000.

“This is a welcome initiative as part of the ACT’s Government commitment to reducing gambling harm and protecting vulnerable consumers. The social and financial costs of gambling continue to severely impact ACT individuals, families and wider community and the ACT Government must do more to protect Canberrans from gambling harm,” said Dr Campbell.

People experiencing domestic and family violence, older people, people with disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples are at a higher risk of experiencing gambling harm.

Dr Campbell said: “Community clubs are an important and well-loved part of Canberra. By reducing risks of gambling harm we can ensure that community clubs become safer, more inclusive and welcoming spaces for all.

“Over 99% of the ACT’s gaming machines are in community clubs. We look forward to seeing community clubs engage in the poker machine surrender initiative to become pokie free venues.

“It is reassuring to see the ACT Government is continuing its targeted action to urgently address gambling harm in our community. ACTCOSS welcomes the introduction of betting limits to support people experiencing gambling harm. We are eager to see further action in the coming months including the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment in all venues and banning of poker machine operations between 2AM and 10AM,” Dr Campbell said.

The Discussion Paper is available on the YourSay website until 3 June 2022. The ACT Government will be introducing a draft bill as part of the consultation process.

If yourself or a loved one is experiencing gambling harm, contact: Gamblers Helpline - 1800 858 858 gamblershelp.com.au

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations. Follow us @ACTCOSS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617.