Reducing the harm
A call for specific harm minimisation measures featured in more than two-thirds of the most recent submissions to the Tasmanian Government about its plans for the state’s gaming industry.
This included the submission from Anglicare Tasmania. With more than 20 years’ experience in advocacy and the delivery of support services for people who gamble, we urged the Government to incorporate harm minimisation measures in its proposed legislative amendments.
The Government’s policy would end the Federal Group’s monopoly to operate poker machines and grant licences to individual venue operators.
The harm minimisation measures recommended by Anglicare include:
- a maximum bet limit of $1
- slower spin speeds
- a mandatory pre-commitment system
- prohibition of ‘losses disguised as wins’
- reduced opening hours for poker machine venues
- mandatory staff intervention when harm is occurring.
“Poker machines can have devastating effects on Tasmanians’ financial security, their physical and mental health, and the quality of relationships with family members, friends and work colleagues,” said Anglicare’s General Manager Housing and Community Services Noel Mundy.
“Public health impacts like these require a public health approach. Initiatives such as the Gamblers Help service and the Community Support Levy deliver important benefits, but our view is that they need to be strengthened”.
The Community Support Levy is funded from a percentage of the gross profit made from poker machines.
“Currently the CSL is spent on a variety of projects, some of them completely unrelated to gambling. We have advocated for this funding to be used exclusively for activities that support people not to gamble or to gamble less,” said Noel.
Gamble Aware Week is coming
Gamble Aware Week will be held in Tasmania from 18-24 October, with the theme Talk – Share – Support. It will share personal stories of recovery and hope and encourage people to seek support for themselves or a family member.
The Week will feature a series of Family Fun Days held in partnership with local Neighbourhood Houses in Burnie, Launceston and Hobart. It will culminate in a 100 Day Challenge, where people are encouraged to find alternatives to gambling, particularly when they are feeling stressed.
A new Family Resources Booklet is coming soon.
Anglicare’s Social Action and Research Centre (SARC) makes regular submissions to the Tasmanian Government. Read them here.