Page 1662 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2017

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Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Problem gambling

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.07): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that:

(a) the ACT currently has approximately 16.2 poker machine licences per 1000 adults, which is the highest ratio of any state or territory in Australia;

(b) the risks of problem gambling increase significantly with the frequency of playing poker machines, with the Productivity Commission estimating that among those who play poker machines weekly or more, 15 percent are problem gamblers and an additional 15 percent are at moderate risk;

(c) in 2014, people who reported any level of problem gambling accounted for 64 percent of losses from poker machines. Moderate or high risk problem gamblers accounted for 28 percent of poker machine losses, despite representing only 2 percent of the ACT adult population;

(d) poker machines are manufactured using well established principles of behavioural psychology including visual and audio reinforcement to make losses appear as wins and unequal reel lengths which make near misses occur with greater frequency. These design features increase the risk of addictive gambling; and

(e) for every person with a gambling problem, between five and 10 others also experience serious consequences including emotional distress, relationship breakdown and financial difficulties;

(2) further notes that:

(a) since the start of this year, a number of Canberrans have spoken publicly about their experiences with problem gambling and poker machine addiction, including identifying gaps and limitations in the current regulatory system;

(b) the availability of cash through EFTPOS facilities has been identified by people with experience of gambling harm as a way to access money beyond the current $250 ATM withdrawal limit, which can be an obstacle to controlling problem gambling behaviour;

(c) the Productivity Commission Report into Gambling 2010 recommended a number of evidence-based measures to reduce harm from poker machines, including mandatory pre-commitment and $1 maximum bet limits; and

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