Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National gambling reforms

The Gillard Government today welcomed the support of the Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, for Australia’s first national legislation to tackle problem gambling.

We are taking a staged evidence-based pathway to pre-commitment on poker machines to protect pokie addicts and their families. This is the approach recommended by the Productivity Commission.

The Government’s legislation requires that:

  • All new poker machines manufactured from the end of next year must be capable of supporting pre-commitment;
  • All poker machines must be part of a state linked pre-commitment system by 2016, except eligible small venues which will have longer;
  • All poker machines must have electronic warnings and cost of play displays on poker machines by 2016; and
  • A $250 daily withdrawal limit must be set on ATMs in gaming venues (excluding casinos) by 2013.

The Government is also sponsoring a large scale trial of mandatory pre-commitment in the ACT.

The Government wants a robust trial. We have included new provisions in the legislation to ensure the trial is independently designed, managed and evaluated. The legislation also requires that an independent review of the trial results must be conducted by the Productivity Commission.

Rolling the technology out to every machine now ensures that we will be ready to move to a mandatory pre-commitment system, if the trial results support it.

To ensure the system is ready for this transition, the Government has also added a clarifying clause to the legislation to make clear that the infrastructure to be put on all poker machines must be capable of supporting mandatory pre-commitment.

Mr Wilkie has agreed that these new provisions address his concerns. The Government will now brief the Opposition, the Greens and other Independent Members of Parliament on the two new provisions in the legislation.

We look forward to introducing the legislation for Australia’s first national gambling reforms when the support of the Parliament is secured.

The Gillard Government understands that many Australians enjoy gambling responsibly. But for others it can have devastating consequences.

Problem gambling ruins lives and destroys families – in fact up to five million Australians are affected by problem gambling.

These far reaching impacts are why the Australian Government is delivering genuine, long-lasting reforms to help problem gamblers and their families.

In addition to rolling out pre-commitment on poker machines and ATM limits, the Government is boosting counselling support, strengthening self-exclusion arrangements and staff training in pokies venues, banning the promotion of live odds during sports coverage and cracking down on online betting.