Sat, May 11, 11:34pm by Kevin Pitstock
Earlier reports speculating that government of South Australia would institute gambling reform were correct. The Parliament of South Australia introduced a bill today, the Statutes Amendment Gambling Reform Bill 2013, which decreases the number of gambling machines in the state and embraces pre-commitment systems.
The Gambling Reform Bill of 2013 is seeking to amend and reform gaming laws stipulated in the Gaming Machine Act 1992. The parliament hopes to decrease the overall number of pokies in South Australia, while giving potential problem gamblers a system for limiting their play options before the compulsive nature of their addiction causes bad decisions.
The new law would make a distinction between major venues and minor venues. Establishments would need to choose which they would be considered, while the law would set distinct limits on the number of machines available to each. Many of the current venues would be required to rid themselves of a certain number of poker machines.
Major venues would be required to eliminate ATM machines in ready areas, making it harder for players to obtain more cash within easy walking distance of machines. Also, pokies would have to support on-screen messages.
Venues could not have more than 60 gaming machines on the premises. Instead of the current max bet of $10, the wagering limit would be reduced down to $5 bets. Finally, machines would have to contain automated risk monitoring systems, while having a voluntary pre-commitment system in the software.
Minor venues would be limited to a maximum of 20 machines. Again, bet per spin limitations of $5 instead of $10 would be instituted, while all gambling operations would have to be shut down between 2am and 10am every day.
Again, all poker machines would have to support on-screen messages. Limits would be placed on gaining cash from cash facilities, while all automated coin machines would be prohibited. Finally, no customer loyal program of any kind would be allowed.
The new laws would have to be enforced by July 1, 2014 at the latest, though laws might come into effect sooner. Lawmakers also suggested amendments to five other former gambling laws in South Australia, including a lotteries act, a problem gambling act, a casino act, a wide-ranging authorized gambling activities law, and the Independent Gambling Authority Act.
Most of the suggested new laws give players a better chance to avoid the worst pitfalls of gambling. Having limitations on spending and curtailments to ATM access makes it harder to lose tremendous sums of money. Limiting the times one can play helps, while raising in-game awareness can only help. Limiting pokies clubs and other promotions could be a double-edged sword, as it would give venues an excuse not to give lost cash back to players in the form of comps. Since it’s arguable these are encouragements for more gambling which pay for themselves, it is understandable those amendments are being included.
These are sweeping changes which should do much to give gamblers a chance to enjoy their hobby without having it affect their lives. We can only hope they work to curtail the excesses of addictive gambling.
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