Wednesday, 20 October 2010

What Pre-Commitment Might Look Like

Set out below are my suggestions as to how an effective pre-commitment system might be configured. There is little original thought in this as it borrows almost totally from the recommendations of the final report of the Productivity Commission. As always, comments are welcome.

1.
Every pokie (casino, club and pub) has a pre-set limit that permits recreational gambling. The suggested default limit is 25¢ maximum bet. This will result in an average loss per hour per machine of around $30; within the limits of recreational gambling. This allows for recreational gamblers whether they be from Australia or overseas to gamble safely without the need for any device.

2.
Should the $30 standard be too low, gamblers could obtain a pre-commitment device that allows them to opt out. To prevent a person from having or using multiple keys, they have to ID themselves at time of issue and consideration must be given to photo, biometric, or PIN identification. Adoption of the Norwegian system of direct electronic debit or credit is another solution.

The pokie would be activated to allow this higher risk gambling by this device (analogous to a key) that is either 'on' or 'off'.

3.
While there will be a default setting on the device, the gambler sets their own limits. The setting of limits can be done via the Internet or a terminal other than the pokie itself. Government mandates no limit. However, in line with the Productivity Commission's own findings; the goal is that it should not be possible to lose more than $120 per hour on pokie gambling.

No need for government monitoring of actual gambling. Allows all entertainment features of pokie gambling to remain.

4.
If the gambler is gambling within those limits, the machine is on. Once those self set limits are exceeded the key is internally disabled and no longer unlocks any machine i.e. the key sets itself to “off’

So if the gambler sets a limit e.g. “I can lose $5,000 in a week” and loses $5,001 in a day then gambling stops until the week expires. Nothing can be done to reactivate the key until the week expires. No one knows what limits the individual sets.

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