ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Joint media release: Time for action on gambling harm

20 October 2020

ACTCOSS and Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance joint media release.

This Gambling Harm Awareness Week, the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has joined with the Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance (CGRA) to call on the incoming ACT Government to urgently act on gambling harm in the ACT.

ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “The ACT has the most dangerous poker machines in Australia due to lax regulations on bet limits, accessibility of cash in gambling venues, and no pre-commitment on the amount that can be gambled.

“Research shows that gambling harm affects 47,000 Canberrans and costs the Canberra community $214million every year. It not only impacts the player but also the people they love the most.

“ACTCOSS and CGRA have long called for political parties to make strong commitments in relation to the regulation of Canberra’s poker machines to ensure consumers and informed and protected from harm,” said Dr Campbell.

CGRA Co-Chair Kate Seselja said: “While we recognise the important role that community clubs play in Canberra, more needs to be done by clubs to identify revenue opportunities from sources other than gambling.

“For some people, the COVID-19 period provided a brief respite from electronic gaming machines (EGMs). As they reopen, more people than ever are at risk from gambling harm resulting from the economic and psychological pressures brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Gambling Harm Awareness Week helps people to recognise the signs of gambling harm. This week should also remind the incoming government of its responsibility to tackle gambling harm in the ACT.

“CGRA has called for five simple changes: reducing the number of poker machines in the ACT to 2500 by the year 2025; limiting access to cash in poker machine venues across both ATMs and EFTPOS to a daily limit of $250; introducing a bet limit of $1 on all poker machines in the Territory and limit loadup to $100; introducing mandatory pre-commitment in all venues and banning poker machines operation between 2.00am and 10.00am each day; and increasing transparency of the community contributions scheme and prioritising actions that reduce gambling,” said Ms Seselja.

Dr Campbell concluded: “ACTCOSS and CGRA call on the new ACT Government to urgently enact CGRA’s reforms to protect more Canberrans from gambling harm.”

If you need help or support, individuals, families and friends can call the ACT Gambling Counselling and Support Service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 858 858.

Find more information on the CGRA here.

Find out more about Gambling Harm Awareness Week and the signs of gambling harm.

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.

For more information or comment, please contact
Kate Seselja, Co-Chair, CGRA on 0404 059 462 or
Craig Wallace, Policy Manager, ACTCOSS on 0477 200 755.