By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier
The Canadian jurisdiction that embraced the potential for mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines is dropping the scheme, citing “it makes no sense”.
One of the few jurisdictions in the world to adopt the so-called ‘license to punt’ championed by anti-pokies crusaders senators Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenaphon, the Nova Scotian Government has recognised the system did not help problem gamblers and did in fact reduce other revenues.
“What happened was it got rid of the casual and tourist gamers,” reports Andrew Younger – the minister responsible for the Gaming Control Act.
“There was no decrease in problem gamers’ use of VLTs [poker machines] since the introduction of the My-Play system.”
Younger stated that “the money was spent” for a legitimate trial, but the $20 million system, which cost in the end around $9000 per machine, resulted in a fall in revenue not related to problem gamblers of more than 20 per cent due to reluctance of this market to obtain a mandatory card.
Reiterating the “won’t work will hurt” campaign by Clubs and the Australian Hotels Association, Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball said the decision to abandon the scheme confirmed what protractors here have proclaimed from the beginning: that the system did not address the real problems.
“The lesson for Australians is clear: be sceptical of the silver-bullets peddled by anti-pokies campaigners like Andrew Wilkie, Nick Xenophon and Tim Costello; they are not interested in evidence-based solutions that will actually help problem gamblers.“