With the apparent situation with problem gambling at an all time high, while the Australian government propose setting gambling limits, objectors call their effectiveness into question.
Over the last few months, Australia’s lawmakers have been looking into ways that might help to curb what is seen as a growing problem in gambling habits. Their latest idea is to put into place spending limits that gamblers agree to before they start playing the poker machines. However, there are objections to this plan which, if substantiated, could signal the potential for these proposals making the problem worse, not better.
Clubs Australia are a group that represents gaming clubs all across Australia and they have disputed the effectiveness of this current proposal as well as also disputing that the gambling problem is even as bad as government ministers are saying it is. Their counter argument may shed some light on what could happen with gamblers should the idea be made law.
While there are millions of gamblers that regularly play the poker machines in pubs and clubs all over the country, Australia does not really have much of an industry surrounding online gambling, especially when compared to other countries like the UK, Canada and even the USA where online gambling is not permitted. However, Clubs Australia argue that if physical spending limits are placed on all gamblers in casinos, pubs and clubs, those that are deemed to be problem gamblers will simply take their business online. The knock on effect will also mean that social gamblers will also desert the casinos, clubs and pubs for the online alternative.
They say that this will have a devastating effect on the entertainment and leisure industry as well as result in a huge reduction in state and federal taxes being collected as online gambling websites and casinos do not currently pay any tax in Australia.
The plans that are currently being examined by legislators would require all gamblers to pre-set a limit on the amount they would be able to lose before they start to play on any gambling machine. Clubs Australia argues that this requirement would just be seen as a burden to all gamblers. It would also be largely ineffective due to the option of online gambling.
Peter Newell, who is President of Clubs Australia also addressed the area of treatment that problem gamblers should have. He claimed that setting limits was not the solution, but that identifying those addicted to gambling and getting help for them would be they way to deal with the problems they face.