By Andrew Starke
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has broken a written promise to Australia’s 4,000 registered clubs which committed her government to consultation with the industry on poker machine laws.
This is the views of Clubs Australia which has slammed an undertaking to implement a mandatory pre-commitment system for all poker machines across Australia as well as to limit ATM cash withdrawals to just $250 a day as ‘completely untested in terms of addressing problem gambling’.
Executive director of Clubs Australia, Anthony Ball, said Julia Gillard has seen more value in a political deal with Andrew Wilkie than in protecting Australian clubs and people’s right to set their own limits on what they can afford to spend gambling.
“The Productivity Commission states that the net social benefit to the Australian economy from gambling is between $4 and $11 billion annually,” he said.
“The club industry is supported by more than ten million Australians, and provides more than $3billion in sporting facilities, and 80,000 direct jobs.”
“This announcement shows how political imperative has triumphed over good policy,” he added.
“This decision is a black eye for not just registered clubs, but all Australians who will now be told by the Government how much of their money they can spend gambling.”
Clubs Australia contends that there is no research to link ATM cash withdrawals to problem gambling and that ATMs located in clubs offer the community both security and convenience.