It seems the government and the clubs industry in Australia need to sit down have a long chat about the future of poker machines in the country.
The government is pushing ahead with a requirement for mandatory pre-commitment from users (basically setting gambling limits), a plan which Clubs Australia says is untested. But, in response, the clubs industry is running a campaign based on spurious or highly selective facts.
On their Won’t Work Will Hurt website, Clubs Australia points to Norway as the only country that has introduced mandatory pre-commitment, arguing the result has been an increase in gambling.
Dr Rachel Volberg, President of Gemini Research, has been involved in gambling research since 1985, and her experience of the Norway situation is the precise opposite. Whatever the outcome, as we discuss in this edition of BTalk, the situation in Norway was very different, and the government response very different — for example, the government has become the only operator of machines.
As you’ll hear, Rachel Volberg has a wealth of knowledge in solutions to gambling addiction. It’s a shame that politics drives us to a conclusion on issues that clearly need fixing, but also need more discussion. And, in fairness to Clubs Australia, they have said they would support a pre-commitment trial in one state.