Friday, 26 November 2010

The Victorian Election

On the matter of gambling in Victoria there are three issues that should be borne in mind. They are listed in the order of importance:
  1. Eliminate the inherent harm of the machine
  2. Reverse the normalisation of gambling directed towards our children
  3. Stop the tide of pokie accessibility.
None of these steps need new studies, legislation or standards. There is already sufficient evidence and laws. Implementation requires only prescriptive enforcement of the existing legislation and enactment of Ministerial directions or regulations pursuant to existing regulations. It can happen at the stroke of a pen.

Point 2 includes the over-the-top marketing of telephone and online gambling.

To best assess the policies of candidates, click here to view the video of this week's gambling forum courtesy of the Mayne Report.

For what little it is worth, other than their admirable refusal to support a casino in Mildura, the Coalition's policies are inferior to the governments in that they will not accept the reforms of the Productivity Commission that are the foundation of present Federal ALP policy. But the ALP's policies, much criticised on PokieAct.org show a terrifying contempt for the Victorian public considering:
  • Victoria has the worst prevalence of problem gambling of any state.
  • 12,000 Victorian pokie gamblers contemplate suicide every year
  • 6,000 Victorian pokie gamblers stated that their gambling lead them to commit an act against the law.
It is nothing less than sickening to read that Minister Robinson blames New South Wales. How was New South Wales responsible for the Orwellian pre-commitment scheme that requires no commitment at all from the gambler or the silence on the vital $1 bet limit reform?

It was instructive to hear the Greens admit that when they had a chance to make a difference, they erred by allowing generic language to be inserted in amendments to the Gambling Regulation Act. Their policies going forward seem sound. One hope that they adopt the fervour of Tasmanian Green, Kim Booth to address the issue of the $1 maximum bet.

This writer stands with Woolworths / ALH in opposition to local councils levying discretionary rates against venues that operate pokies. Such levy will create a dependency at local government level upon pokie losses and distracts from the three substantive issues set out above that truly address the issue.

As one might expect, this blog wholeheartedly endorses Dr Lorraine Beyer and Stephen Mayne.

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