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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 211 ..

Gambling-Select Committee


Debate resumed from 25 March 1999, on motion by Mr Kaine:

That the report be noted.

MR KAINE (10:49), in reply: If nobody else wishes to speak, I will do so, merely to round off the result of work that was done two years ago. The committee's report was tabled in March 1999, and the government tabled its response to it in June of that year. Since then much has happened in dealing with the matters that this report addressed.

There are, however, still some matters in abeyance, and they are significant ones. One is the question of whether or not poker machine use should be extended beyond clubs, whether or not the existing monopoly held by clubs on poker machines should continue. It was a recommendation of the report not that that should not be done but that considerations needed to be taken into account before it was done. I will read the recommendation:

The committee recommends that access to poker machines not be extended beyond clubs until research has been conducted on:

the current prevalence of problem gambling in the ACT;

the relationship between problem gambling and the prevalence of poker machines;

the demographics of hotel customers compared with club members; and

the likely social impacts if class c machines were allowed in ACT hotels and taverns.

Along with that recommendation-which has not yet been considered by the government, to the best of my knowledge-there was another recommendation, recommendation 3, about the cap of 5,200 machines that was applied to prevent the further proliferation of poker machines until some research had been done into the general subject. That cap, imposed when this inquiry was completed in 1999 and still in force, ceases to be in force after 1 July this year, unless something is done to extend it or alter it. But as I have noted, our recommendation No 14, about whether machines should be allowed outside the clubs in the general sense, has not yet been addressed, and the research that was a prerequisite to a further consideration of the subject has not been completed.

I was briefed quite recently by the Gambling and Racing Commission, which was established as a result of a recommendation of this report. I was briefed by the chairman of the board and the chief executive officer only a few weeks ago as to where they were with a number of the recommendations that still remain to be put into effect. As required by one of our recommendations, they are engaging in a research program and a data collection program about the sorts of things we dealt with in the report-the prevalence of problem gambling, the relationship between problem gambling and the prevalence of poker machines, and the like-so that we can have some sure knowledge about these things in the ACT.

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