By Andrew Starke
The Gaming Technologies Association (GTA) – representing poker machine manufacturers – has broadly supported the Federal Government’s response to what the GTA called the ‘disappointing’ final report of the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Gambling.
“The government has importantly called for a ‘nationally consistent’ model for electronic gaming machines, which we support”, said the GTA’s CEO, Ross Ferrar.
“Regulatory standards and processes need to be harmonised in Australia so that productivity and policy aims are not undermined by uneven regulations among state jurisdictions. The Federal Government has recognised this problem and will address this and other issues in a new national council,” he said.
TheShout contacted several of the major poker machine manufacturers – including Aristocrat Technologies, Aruze Gaming, International Gaming Technology (IGT) and Shufflemaster – for comment but were on each occasion referred back to the official GTA response.
The industry body also supported the government’s move to improve harm minimisation measures and said it would continue to support such initiatives.
“We are pleased the government has adopted a balanced and considered approach to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations, a number of which are backward-looking, excessively costly, based on unproven data, set unrealistic deadlines for implementation and are unlikely to achieve their aims,” said Ferrar.
“The Commission should have worked with the industry more closely to develop feasible solutions which address proven issues.”
Instead Ferrar accused the inquiry of providing a platform over the past two years for entrenched critics to take “cheap shots at 140,000 Australian workers who provide a legitimate entertainment service with professionalism and integrity”.
Clubs Australia also welcomed the government’s response.
The next step will see the Federal Government writing to State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers to recommend the establishment of a new high-level Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Select Council of Ministers on Gambling Reform to progress a national approach to minimise the harm caused by problem gambling.
Victoria Gaming Minister, Tony Robinson, said the State’s government was already working on putting in place pre-commitment technology on all gaming machines in all Victorian gaming venues – the key initiative identified by the Commonwealth to minimise the potential harm caused by gambling.
“In Victoria, we are taking action to create a progressive and accountable gambling industry, where risks to individuals and the broader community are addressed and people are empowered to take control of their own gambling,” he said.
“Victoria has consistently led the way on creating a responsible gaming industry, balancing the need to minimise gambling related harm, while allowing those who are able to gamble safely to do so.