By Annette Shailer
ClubsAustralia will tell a parliamentary inquiry in Sydney today (Feb 4) that the Australian productivity watchdog has made an error in its claim that problem gamblers are responsible for 40 percent of poker machine revenue.
An article in The Australian today reports that a 'mathematical error' is being used to justify the mandatory pre-commitment scheme on poker machines being introduced by the federal government.
The Gillard government agreed to introduce the pre-commitment scheme to gain the support of Independent MP Andrew Wilkie during last year’s hung parliament.
ClubsAustralia executive director, Anthony Ball, said late last year that the mandatory pre-commitment system would reduce club revenue by up to 40 percent, translating into a $2.1 billion annual loss for Australia’s 4000 registered clubs.
State and territory governments have until May to sign up to the pre-commitment scheme, any resistance will see the Gillard Government use its federal power to intervene and enforce the changes.
Families Minister Jenny Macklin released a joint media release with Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten, on Tuesday (Feb 1) detailing the release of legal advice on gambling reform.
The legal advice details the Commonwealth's power to legislate for reforms to address problem gambling
“The Australian Government is committed to working with the states and territories and industry to introduce key reforms which address the harm from problem gambling, including a full pre-commitment scheme for poker machines," the release states.
"Gambling is a legitimate industry and a valued form of entertainment for many Australians. We will work with industry to implement these reforms in a staged, evidence-based way. We have established the Ministerial Expert Advisory Group on Gambling, chaired by Professor Peter Shergold AC, to seek advice from the industry, academics and gambling support services on how to best implement the reforms.
“The Productivity Commission recommended the Commonwealth intervene if the states and territories do not agree to implement gambling reforms Australia-wide.”