By Clyde Mooney

Independent research by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has contradicted the results of the Productivity Commissions’ findings on the prevalence of problem gambling.

The IPA report states that the Commission ‘appears to have over-estimated the profile of problem gambling through the use of outdated and unweighted data’.

“A rigorous IPA analysis of the Productivity Commission’s estimates show that the total number of problem gamblers using pokie machines may be as low as 57,000; not the 159,000 estimated by the Commission,” said the report’s co-author, Tim Wilson.

“Our analysis shows that problem gamblers are likely to only contribute between 10 and 20 percent of pokie machine revenue; not the 43 percent estimated by the Commission,” said the other co-author, Julie Novak.

Wilson and Novak suggest that as the planned anti-pokie reforms rely heavily on the Productivity Commission’s estimates of the rate and contribution of problem gamblers, it would be prudent to assess the validity of their numbers.

This independent research echoes the sentiments of many of the reform’s critics, who suggest that the move into mandatory pre-commitment (MPC) is premature, will be ineffective, and will cost unprecedented amounts of time and money to implement.

The report also undermines the validity of statements by the member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, regarding the widespread proclivity of problem gambling amongst Australian families.

Yesterday’s announcement by the Federal Opposition regarding its ‘commitment to evidence-based policy’ will undoubtedly join this research in fuelling the fire of the anti-reform critics.


The Shout Team

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

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