Committee to take Long Look at Australian Gambling Industry

The Australian government is to take a close look at the subject of gambling harm. Particular attention will be paid to online casinos but in Tasmania, there are worrying times ahead for players of poker machines (pokies).

There will be an inquiry carried out by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs. This will take a look at several areas of gambling including advertising and links that exist between the industry and sport.

The Chair of the Committee will be Peta Murphy who says they will be taking a” fresh look at online gambling.” The aim will be to discover if the current legislation, education and support programs “are enough to reduce harm to gamblers.”

Peta added that the committee is “concerned about the increasing reach of online gambling platforms into Australians’ lives, the exposure of children and young people to gambling advertising and how this may contribute to increases in problem gambling in the future.”

A key area to be examined is how to protect those who are potentially at risk of gambling harm. There have already been restrictions on gambling advertising, particularly in terms of those that may be seen by children.

This will be examined to see how effective the restrictions have been. They will also look at the promotion of the latest betting odds during sports events.

Another job for the committee is to look at the current counselling and support services. Also to be examined is the quality of, and access to, protective online gambling education programmes.
The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 will also be looked at by the committee. This will include whether loot boxes and social casino games should now be included in the Act.

Tasmania is the first state that has introduced mandatory pre-committment cards for poker machines. This is due to begin before the end of 2024. Next year marks the 30th anniversary of poker machines being made legal in the state.

Those playing the machines will be required to set daily loss limits of up to $100 and a monthly limit of up to $500 with the yearly limit being up to $5,000. Only if the player can show they have a proven capacity to afford it, will a larger limit be allowed.

When a limit is reached, the player will have to wait until the start of the next period before being able to resume playing.