Australia Investigating Problem Gambling
By Staff
In Australia, the Productivity Commission has been tasked by the Government with looking into problem gambling in the nation and is due to report back with its findings by the end of next year.

According to a piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, it has been estimated that two per cent of all gamblers in Australia have a problem. In lieu of an official Government report, the venues themselves under the banner of Clubs Australia want to introduce measures that require gambling officers to intervene at the request of a family member.

If undertaken, the measure would see identified problem gamblers banned from clubs until they successfully completed counselling. A pilot programme that has been operating in South Australia since 2004 has handled 150 complaints and taken formal action in ten cases.

However, Peter Newell, President for Clubs Australia, admitted that family intervention could result in negative repercussions for some people despite being a good measure overall.

'If a 15-year-old went and asked for help for a parent figure or an authority, what might happen to this kid when he got home,' said Newell.

'There are circumstances like that, and I admit this is not perfect, but we feel it is still an opportunity that, generally speaking, would give families an opportunity to be heard.'

This is just one of many measures the registered clubs movement, which relies heavily on poker machine revenues, has proposed in order to challenge problem gambling. Another is a ban on using credit cards to pay for online or telephone gambling similar to America’s Unlawful Internet gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The organisation also wants tighter regulations on internet and telephone gambling and for schools to implement financial literacy education programmes.
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