Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance Questions Hotels Calls for pokies in more Canberra Venues
The Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance is today questioning the Australian Hotel Association’s (AHA) call for hotels to be allowed to place pokies in their venues.
Given the recent evidence of the significant harm caused by pokies, the Alliance does not believe the community is supportive of a further proliferation of EGMs. “We want to see less pokies, not more” said the co chair of the Alliance, Rebecca Vassarotti, a former member of the Gambling and Racing Commission.
“When we are talking about a level playing field, we are not talking about a situation where we see an increase of the harmful products in more venues that are located in our local communities. What we want to see is a situation where consumers are better informed and protected from products that are deliberately designed to be addictive. ”
“Hotels are raising legitimate questions as to the generous rules that govern clubs and that is something that should be examined. The answer is not to enable pokies in more venues but to reduce the numbers of pokies across our community, introduce rules that make them safer and support venues who are developing alternative ways of creating a vibrancy in our community without relying on gambling revenue”
“Establishing business models that require gambling revenue – of which almost half from members of the community who are experiencing gambling harm – is a short term strategy which will create long term harm for individuals, families and the community. It is not something that should be incentivised by the government and the effort needs to be on transitioning businesses away from this form of revenue given the significant harm it is causing in the community.”
“We do note that the AHA is calling for an independent community contributions fund. While we are not supportive of AHA’s call for pokies in their venues, we agree that there is a need for community contributions funds to be managed by an independent central fund to ensure that the profits from gambling are delivering greater social impact”. Ms Vassarotti concluded.
CGRA Co-Chair: Rebecca Vassarotti, 0408668963
CGRA Co-Chair and CEO Anglicare NSW South & ACT: Jeremy Halcrow 0401 533 266