Page 4957 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017

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Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 10

Noes 7

Mr Barr

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Coe

Mr Milligan

Ms Berry

Ms Orr

Mr Hanson

Mr Parton

Ms Burch

Mr Pettersson

Mrs Jones

Ms Cheyne

Mr Ramsay

Mrs Kikkert

Ms Cody

Mr Rattenbury

Ms Lawder

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (4.58), by leave: I move amendments Nos. 1 and 2 circulated in my name together [see schedule 2 at page 4968]. One of the key issues in this discussion has been the issue of bet limits. I alluded to it briefly in my earlier remarks but saved the bulk of my comments on it for now. Poker machine bet limits are recommended by experts as one of the most effective ways to reduce gambling harm in the community. The majority of Australian jurisdictions are moving towards reduced bet limits, with the maximum bet lowered from $10 to $5 in clubs and hotels in all states and territories other than the ACT and New South Wales. New Zealand have introduced a $2.50 bet limit and in Sweden a $1 bet limit is in place.

At the moment, with a $10 bet limit per spin in the ACT, players can lose up to $1,200 per hour. This exposes people with a gambling addiction to an unacceptably high risk of huge losses in short amounts of time. Based on the findings of the Productivity Commission, the Greens believe the $5 bet limit proposed in this legislation is unacceptably high. A $5 bet limit can still lead to losses of up to $600 per hour and will not be effective at reducing harms. The Greens cannot support anything less than the Productivity Commission’s finding that a bet limit of $2 or less is needed to make some useful inroads into reducing harms.

As an alternative to the $5 bet limit proposed in the bill, I am proposing an amendment to set the bet limit at $1, which is in line with the Productivity Commission’s recommendations for what constitutes best practice. I have heard some arguments put that a $1 bet limit places an unfair restriction on recreational gamblers, and I want to respond to that point. Research has found that the vast majority—around 80 per cent—of recreational gamblers make bets at or below $1. That is why we believe a $1 bet limit is a reasonable measure that will not reduce the enjoyment for casual gamblers but will provide strong protections for those at risk of gambling harm.

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