In Australia, the Treasurer and Minister for Racing for the state of Tasmania, Michael Aird, has announced that he was extremely pleased with the progress made at last week’s Ministerial Council on Gambling (MCG) meeting in Melbourne.
The MCG was held in order to discover ways of developing a national approach to problem gambling throughout the whole of Australia. Aird stated that the meeting made it clear that Tasmania is leading the way with regulations such as a cap on the number of poker machines along with forbidding automatic teller or note accepting machines in clubs and pubs.
“This has been the first meeting in two years of the MCG,” said Aird.
“The outcomes of the meeting demonstrate what state and Federal governments working together can achieve. I am confident the national approach that has been embraced here today and a subsequent range of new initiatives will enable us to make further headway.”
Ministers agreed to develop a single national website for online treatment that will provide around-the-clock access to counselling. It is expected to appeal to people who may not be reached through traditional face-to-face counselling. In addition, the attendees agreed to a single national 1-800 gambling hotline telephone number that will automatically switch a caller through to a councillor in his or her state or territory of residence.
Aird also tabled the Social and Economic Impact Study into Gambling in Tasmania and Ministers agreed to reconvene in February to discuss its findings.
“This is an important report which, provides information that will be valuable for all jurisdictions as they work to better understand the impacts of gambling,” said Aird.
“Notwithstanding the initiatives being pursued at the national level, I look forward to receiving the Tasmanian Gaming Commission’s response to the Study, which I anticipate will include the consideration of smart-card technology.”