Thursday, 24 March 2011

Peter Newell Can Sleep Tonight

During yesterday's address Peter Newell mentioned what happened in Norway as a cause for concern. He was worried about online gambling sucking up the gambling dollars that problem gamblers would spend after turning away from pokies once full pre-commitment was in place. He need not worry. The evidence direct from the Norweigan Gaming Authority is good news for Mr Newell. Slot machine gamblers in Norway did not move to other forms of gambling. Mr Newell can sleep well tonight.

I'm guessing Mr Newell did not know about this information. Of course, if he did, and proceeded to state publicly that Norweigian pokie gamblers moved to other forms of gambling then that would not be telling the truth.

Here's an expert commenting on this very same information. He's got it nearly right.
"the majority of former slot machine players did not move to new forms of gambling and the turnover and participation in new gaming terminals is lower than it was for slot machines. In addition, fewer individuals are seeking help from telephone help-lines and treatment services"
This expert was named and touted by Peter Newell (and members of ClubsNSW) as being authoritative on pre-commitment. This paragraph was taken from his expert submission to the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform. Mr Newell referred to this committee's proceeding during his talk yesterday.

Is it reasonable to presume that Mr Newell read the whole of this expert's report? It's only 10 pages. It's available publicly. One might hope that Mr Newell owes it to the members of Clubs Australia before he talks about it before the National Press Club in a nationally televised event.

The quote is from pokie expert Professor Alex Blaszczynski of the University of Sydney.

Backing up the research discussed in my Tale of the Ol' West blog, here's a further breakdown from the Norweigan Gaming Authority:


My assumption is that the pokie industry regards the addicted gambler as an incurable sicko who will fall from alcohol, drugs or other forms of gambling. The best place for these people is the warm embrace of their clubs and pubs. The multi billion dollar pokie industry takes insufficient responsibility for the inherent dangerous nature of the machine itself nor the environment they create in their pokie dens.

It would, indeed, seem that Mr Newell was somewhat casual with the facts during his talk yesterday.

My hope is that the damage of pokie gambling causes Mr Newell not to sleep very well until he leads all clubs into embracing not only the Productivity Commission's recommendation of full precommitment but their full suite of measures including $1 bet limit and reducing the cash acceptor maximum.

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