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Greens attack 'spineless' Gambling Bill

3 September, 2003

Greens attack 'spineless' Gambling Bill

The Gambling Bill will do no more than scratch the surface of problem gambling in local communities - and in some cases make it worse, said Green MP Sue Bradford today.

Ms Bradford, the Green Gambling spokesperson, has released official information indicating that the restrictions to be imposed by the Gambling Bill will only affect 16 per cent of machines nationwide.

"When communities need the strength to combat the spiralling problem of gambling addiction, the Government's response is spineless," said Ms Bradford.

"Not one territorial authority has the ability to control more than 30 per cent of pokies in their district. As councils and community groups dealing with pokie addiction would agree, this is totally unacceptable.

"I call on local authorities to renew their campaign to convince this Government to support changes to the bill so that local bodies can control all non-casino gambling machines, not just a small percentage of them."

Ms Bradford said local authorities should be very concerned that: * 19,306 gambling machines are in 1790 venues that councils won't be able to regulate. * 3665 gambling machines (16 per cent) are in 321 venues that councils will be able to regulate. * 15 Councils will have no control over the machines and venues operating in their district.

"These figures show how little control this bill will give to communities. The Government should be ashamed that some territorial authorities have no control over pokie machines at all," said Ms Bradford.

Ms Bradford said the Government's latest amendments go in the wrong direction. The Lotteries Commission will be allowed to be conduct lotteries on the internet, while the gambling industry would have a greater say in the development of the Problem Gambling Strategy at the expense of problem gambling organisations.

"How can the Government claim they are addressing problem gambling when they are simply broadening the net for addicts while muting the voices of those trying to heal the wounds of gambling," asked Ms Bradford.

"The last thing local communities need is for gambling to be made easier for both addicts and the industry. But, I guess that's why the term 'responsible' was removed from the Gambling Bill title."


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