ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Let’s seize this chance for action on gambling harm

11 June 2020

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has welcomed a policy announcement by the ACT Greens to cap pokies bets at $5 to reduce gambling harm.

Dr Emma Campbell, ACTCOSS CEO, said: “The call from the ACT Greens for all pokies bets to have a $5 bet limit and a $100 load limit is a welcome recommendation to reduce gambling harm in the Canberra community.

"ACTCOSS calls on ACT Labor, the ACT Liberals and all political parties to adopt this policy and protect Canberrans and their families from the pernicious impact of gambling addiction.

"Research suggests that over 47,000 people or nearly 12% of the ACT population are affected by gambling harm at any one time. Estimated social harm caused by gambling harm is costing the ACT $214 million each year.

"ACTCOSS recognises the important role that community clubs play in Canberra. However, research shows that much more needs to be done by clubs and the Government to diversify revenue away from pokies. ACTCOSS’s own Stories of Chance publication highlights the terrible extent, nature and consequences of gambling harm in the ACT.

"The recovery from COVID-19 presents a great opportunity. We have heard from people who have welcome relief from their addiction due to the shutdown.

"We should take this opportunity to continue to reduce gambling harm as clubs start to reopen in the ACT, noting the increased vulnerability of many members in our community."

ACTCOSS is a member of the Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance that calls for:

  • A program to reduce the number of poker machines in the ACT to 2500 by 2025
  • Daily ATM and EFTPOS limits of $250 in poker machine venues
  • Bet limits of $1 on all poker machines in the Territory, maximum load-ups of $100 and a ban on losses disguised as a win
  • Introduction of mandatory pre-commitment in all venues and changes to ban poker machine operations between 2.00am and 10.00am each day
  • An overhaul of the community contributions scheme to increase transparency of the scheme, prioritise actions that reduce gambling harm through contributions and improve the social benefit delivered through the scheme.

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

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