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Poker Machine Pre-Commitment Law

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Cutter, Oct 30, 2011.


Are you in favour of the mandatory pre-commitment plan to reduce problem gambling?

Poll closed Nov 6, 2011.
Yes 17 vote(s) 68.0%
No 8 vote(s) 32.0%
Don't know enough about it. 0 vote(s) 0.0%
  1. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    Some of the counter arguments on here are contradictory. For example, if the mandatory pre-commitment won't work, why would it effect clubs financially? And if it works, great. As someone said above, a tiny percentage goes back to the local community so that isn't a counter argument.

    Gnostic I know you love your cheap meal and beer, but would you feel the same way if the poor wretches who are, in effect, paying for that were giving you the money directly? Probably not I suspect.

    The only argument above which holds any weight is that people will find other means to gamble which are less regulated and where the government doesn't harvest any tax from the revenue. I agree that is potentially a negative outcome and something which should be looked at.

    As for the nanny state, that isn't as silly as it sounds. We do need to be careful with personal freedoms. In this case, on balance, I'm in favour of a restriction of the right to play the pokies in clubs and pubs. I agree with those who suggest pokies should be restricted to casinos but we're a fair way away from getting to that point.

    Phil Gould is a one dimensional thinker so its no surprise he's formed the only view his brain could formulate. Ray Warren, on the other hand, is a reformed problem gambler and has previously campaigned about it. The surrender of his principles was more surprising and disappointing.
  2. waratahjesus Greg Davis (50)

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    The same public health system that can help you with gambling that the government itself declared a "mental health" issue?

    Shame u won't be coming back though.
    As I said, I'm happy for them to do something about t, I find this particular policy to be Ill conceived though. If they trial it, I would happily bet on the outcome. An addict is not going to be stopped by having to register for a card, if an addict is prevented from going to a place with pokies they are not going to automatically nit be an addict anymore. It's a mental health issue and needs to be treated like one. Not with weak ass legislation that will only cost money with very little change.
    Moses likes this.
  3. Moses Simon Poidevin (60)

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    It seems an awkward, indirect and expensive way to change usage of these machines.

    It'll make gambling on >$1 machines inconvenient for everyone who uses them. Those who have a gambling problem will either register for the scheme, or play multiple 'low intensity' machines simultaneously.

    I don't know the details of how it will work, but can imagine the situation on a Saturday night when the clubs have a young crowd getting cheap piss before hitting the town. If two mates want to stick $50 through Superbucks at $3/press, how would they do this? Can you sign up on the spot? Or do you fill out forms and send them off to the RTA who return a punting license two weeks later with a pile of 'know your limit' literature? The only people who will go through this laborious process are exactly the people it's designed to protect.

    Who pays for the card and administration of the system. Who will the punters sue when it is faulty?

    If they're going to legislate to slow down problem gambling, lets have something that will work - fewer machines in fewer places with a hard limit of $1 / press.
    waratahjesus likes this.
  4. MrTimms Ken Catchpole (46)

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    That's the bit that gets me. I don't go near the things (by choice) because I think they are a little retarded and would prefer (my choice) to buy drinks. However, I like the fact that should I have a lazy hundjy or so lying around, I could throw it through a machine. Does this law change the way I can (my choice) spend my money?

    I understand there is a cost to the community from people who lack the self control to stop, but I really don't like people controlling other peoples freedoms. Similar to the Net Filter and other protection whether you want it or not laws. People need to take the responsibility for their own actions. Kinda like rucking, taken away to protect the game, but now the games not the same. oh look, I started rambling.
    Gnostic, waratahjesus and Moses like this.
  5. kambah mick Chris McKivat (8)

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    I think a comparison needs to be drawn between "gambling addicts" and "pokie addicts". I know a person who, in less than a month lost a redundancy payout of approx $125k on pokies. That person was not a gambler of any kind, did not bet on horses, lotteries, casino games or anything else. Just pokies. Pokies are designed with the assistance of psychiatrists to attract a certain personality type and hold them mesmerised, and they work very well. Those people are not necessarily attracted to other forms of gambling.
    Casual pokies punters will be able to use something like their club membership card which often currently are used in pokies to calculate bonus points etc to approach club management, nominate a max loss amount and access a machine with a punt limit of greater than $1 per pull. Cards which carry a set value are cheap to produce and amend and are commonplace in society already.
    Nanny State arguements are hard to dispute, but if we take that arguement to its logical but ridiculous conclusion, driving licences, seat belt laws, service of alcohol to drunks laws, most consumer protection laws etc would be considered inappropriate. But they all exist because we mostly believe that they serve a benefit to society greater than the loss to society they cause. Hard to believe the same doesn't accrue to possible pokie restriction laws.
    Bullrush and Cutter like this.
  6. Moses Simon Poidevin (60)

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    Would mandatory pre-commitment have helped this person?
  7. Karl Bill McLean (32)

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    The points Moses makes are good ones but I think that, properly implemented, this pre-commitment scheme is a good initiative and worthwhile part of the puzzle. Add to that:
    - Limit the per hour turnover of machines
    - restrict maximum bets,
    - one machine at a time only to be played,
    - the machine to to update the user every hour on the amount spent cumulatively - say today, this week, this year etc

    The fact that some people ONLY bet on Pokies is another good point. I don't think you will get automatic bleed through to other forms of gambling like online or the horses. Pokies are easily accessible in a variety of venues, the spouse and kids don’t see the activity like they would if the gambler was doing it at home on a computer, it takes no skill and requires no knowledge, judgement or research. They are very cleverly designed to part susceptible people from their cash – it’s their only purpose.

    This is not about Nanny State Anything. Sensible regulation and management of things like gambling, smoking, drinking, junk food etc makes sense because these things have significant impacts on individuals and the community. No-one has a problem with McDonalds having to disclose calories and %RDI on their food etc or for advertising of cigarettes and alcohol to be restricted, warnings on labels etc. There is no silver bullet for these sorts of things, it’s all about incremental effect, and education and awareness. Problem Gambling has a huge financial and personal toll in the community – it is appropriate to regulate gambling in such a way as to minimise these impacts. I mean lets remember something – IT’S GAMBLING. Not too long ago the only place for that, legally, was at a track or in a Casino (if you exclude private poker nights for the boys and a bit of bridge). It’s always been regulated, but accessibility, sophistication and other developments designed to increase the “spend” outstripped sensible controls, left them for dead in fact.

    Question though – What’s stopping someone just putting a ridiculously high Pre-commitment level onto their card? How do you determine income and what is a reasonable percentage to blow on a one armed bandit? Or do they just determine that anyone betting more than $x a week on Pokies has a problem? The Devil is always in the detail.
  8. kambah mick Chris McKivat (8)

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    I believe that it would probably have helped. Who can really tell. There were specific circumstances in this case however, in that a spouse was absent on a long term posting o'seas and was due to return in a month or two. Perhaps a slowing of the loss rate would have allowed some spousal guidance before it all disappeared. I repeat though, who can tell. I find it hard to agree with the sentiment that nothing should be tried unless it is absolutely certain to work. That idea is put forward by the vested interests as it is easy to raise doubts, very difficult to erase all trace of them. (I know you didn't raise the last point of my post.)
    Rob42 likes this.
  9. Moses Simon Poidevin (60)

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    The devil is most certainly in the detail. Is it one govt issued card across all clubs, or individual cards issued by each club?
    Is there an upper limit on pre-commitment? If I got one, I'd say 70 billion dollars seems like a good amount. Does the amount expire over a period?
  10. Bruwheresmycar Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    There are plenty of good ideas, such as; cutting down the number of pokie machines.moving them all to the casino.ect. The problem is that the state governments have failed to act, and don't seem keen to. So the federal government has decided to have a 'wishy-washy' attempt, and we are left with less-than-satisfactory solutions.

    I'm not sure with this one. Don't really care either, we don't have pokies here anyway.
    mark_s, MrTimms and Moses like this.
  11. mark_s Chilla Wilson (44)

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    I agree Bru, and will go further and say that it was only a little while ago that the NSW state government approved the use of pokies in pubs which expanded the number of machines significantly.
  12. waratahjesus Greg Davis (50)

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    I think the key thing is, the federal government are only acting due to the independent wanting it, it's his policy, not the governments, an enquiry from allied health, pubs, clubs, addicts etc would probably be a better way of identifying what needs t be done rather than an individuals push for something.
  13. kambah mick Chris McKivat (8)

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    There is no argument that these measures are only being brought in because of a couple of independents in an evenly balanced Parliament, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Both major Parties are badly compromised because they have counterparts in state parliaments who are beholden to the Pokie industry both because of the taxes they levy on gambling and for the donations the AHA and Clubs lavish on their parties. That is why Carr extended the pokies into hotels in NSW, probably one of the worst decisions he made, and he made plenty of bad decisions in his time. Neither major party is game to take on the lobbying power of the AHA or clubs nor to forgo the revenue from pokies, but because of the current political situation a breakthrough is being made and in my opinion that breakthrough is a good start. But it is only a start.
    Moses and waratahjesus like this.
  14. waratahjesus Greg Davis (50)

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    Kambah - agree, i just think its sad that he went in there with the "pre commitment" policy and in doing so i believe has actually limited discussion on the issue by making it an argument over a single policy, would have been much better if he made them promise to address the issue and come up with greater protection and treatment for people with addictions.
    Gnostic, kambah mick and Moses like this.
  15. Rob42 Ron Walden (29)

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    I think you'd find Wilkie has done a fair bit of research on this topic and he believes this is the only system with a reasonable chance of working. Perfect? No, but the best available option.
  16. waratahjesus Greg Davis (50)

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    im not saying he hasnt, but are you saying his research applies to every region, club, pub, person, health issue related to and so on and so on?

    my main problem with this, is having dealt with mental health through the public system for both myself and others i know (and again i will say this was drug related but im led to believe that the addiction is related) is the money being poured into this doesnt treat the addiction, only causes to warn people, like reading material but on the screen.

    i say this from my understanding of addiction, that the basic rules are something along the lines of,

    1 - you want to and keep doing it.
    2 - you feel happy whilst doing it.
    3 - your family/friends/life become secondary to the addiction.

    i believe this applies to a pokies addiction as well, were the gratification is the chance of a payout and the dream of becoming instantly rich from a machine that provides little chance of it. The problem i have and again, i want something done, but the problem with pre commitment is that the government has said that the effect will be minimum for the huge costs involved in implementing it but are pushing ahead as any benifit is worth it. For the cost to set this up, implement it, provide admin for it, probably another government department, etc etc etc. its all less money that can go to mental health and treatment that may get to the cause of the addiction and prevent it. As someone that has suffered from addiction, when my source was cut out, i looked for other outlets, A card that blocks them from a machine doesnt prevent there problem, if anything it serves to escalate the panic of not being able to achieve the thing that makes them happy, where to then?

    if the government where seriously, they would get rid of them, only provide the opportunity at casinos where greater monitoring of members could be used to make sure people get proper help.
  17. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    The government is only serious about placating the independents and maintaining power. It isn't interested in the policy unless it can use it politically.

    However, whilst most of us disagree as to whether this is the right approach, we seem to agree that something should be done. We are where we are and I very much doubt anyone has the appetite to start again. On that basis, I treat this as a starting point that can be worked on from here. Would I start from here? No. Better than nothing? Probably.
    Moses and kambah mick like this.
  18. Karl Bill McLean (32)

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    I agree Cutter. But the whole thing stands and falls on the setting of the precommittment. That rather important detail seems to be somewhat ambiguous at the moment, unless I have missed something.
  19. Rob42 Ron Walden (29)

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    Karl, unless I'm mistaken, the pre-commitment level is totally up to the user. The idea being that, in the cold light of day, they'll set something that is more reasonable than when they're in the midst of a big session in the club, chasing their losses.

    I agree with Cutter that ideally, we'd blow them all up, as the Whitlams sang, but surely that would be even a bigger infringement of people's inaliable rights than getting them to set a limit. You can still just play the $1 machines if you want avoid signing up.
    kambah mick likes this.
  20. Moses Simon Poidevin (60)

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