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Is Gambling Ever Responsible?

20 February 2002

The CHP pleased to see legislation brought before Parliament that will give effect to decisions made in the Government’s Gaming Review. The Responsible Gambling Bill aims to control the growth of gambling, minimise the harm it causes and ensure gaming profits benefit the community. It has provisions for addressing problem gambling and monitoring casinos and gaming machines, and also prohibits new casinos being built.

This legislation is sorely needed. With the number of problem gamblers rising rapidly, some suburban families can now not survive without assistance from the Salvation Army. And the notorious gambler, "Steel Balls", admits he has "a sickness" after placing a losing $20,000 bet on credit, causing four TAB staff to lose their jobs.

Meanwhile, the organisers of our national lottery, dismayed that "Lotto" is losing sales, are offering larger prizes to lure the public back. How responsible is that? Any benefits in grants to the community are far outweighed by the social misery gambling inflicts.

The CHP is concerned that gambling causes the disintegration of family life. The Party is also concerned for the innocent victims of gambling and for the addicts themselves. The Government has a responsibility to the public. Rather than controlling the growth of gambling, this Bill should aim to reduce the gambling opportunities that entice otherwise responsible citizens to risk their fortunes and their families on a game of chance.

The wellbeing of our children, our families and our communities is a priority for the CHP. Can gambling ever be considered "responsible" ?


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