By Clyde Mooney

As the football season hots up the nation’s biggest sporting bodies have combined to slam the proposed reforms for poker machines.

The AFL’s decision to denounce the impending introduction of mandatory pre-commitment (MPC) follows the NRL’s lead earlier this year, rejecting the concept on the grounds that it won’t reduce problem gambling and will have a crippling effect on club’s ability to financially support the game.

“What we want to do is help raise awareness around problem gambling and tackle that issue, not put our clubs in jeopardy,” said Andrew Demetriou, head of the AFL.

According to Anthony Ball, Clubs Australia executive, Australian Rules and Rugby League football have been funded this year alone to the tune of more than $60 million, with another $20 million in support for the junior and grass roots leagues.

Ball spoke of the instability of the proposal, citing doubts amongst many of the Labor MPs scheduled to vote in favour of the legislation reforms next year.

“The worst kept secret in Australia today is that there is little support within the Federal Government for mandatory pre-commitment. It makes no sense to give a problem gambler a gambling card and expect them to suddenly bet responsibly," he said.

Concerns stem mainly from the uncertainty about the success of the proposals and potentially irreparable damage that may result from casual gamblers being forced to register for a card to play machines.

TheShout spoke to Sue McNeil, CEO of Penrith Leagues Club, Panthers.

“The cost of mandatory pre-commitment technology to Panthers Group is $41M. Combining the effects of machine upgrades/replacements with an estimated reduction in gaming revenue of $39M will prove disastrous for our Clubs – with a total loss of $80M in the first year," she said. 

“In the last financial year, Penrith Panthers donated in excess of $1.8M in CDSE funding to various community groups. The introduction of mandatory pre-commitment will see this figure plunge.

"With $1.8M we make a real difference to so many people in our community and without that, local sporting teams will face financial pressure and community groups will lose vital support.”

Each year Panthers Group supports the Penrith Panthers NRL team with a grant of approximately $3.8 million, which will be at risk if mandatory pre-commitment is introduced.


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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