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Online gambling plan dangerous

...Press Release...

August 15, 2007

Online gambling plan dangerous

The Lotteries Commission should not be allowed to make online sales unless they can prove this will not lead to an increase in gambling harm says the Problem Gambling Foundation.

CEO, John Stansfield, says that Lottery products are one of the least harmful forms of gambling at present and this is because you can't gamble continuously on them.

He says that online gambling is dangerous because it provides both easy access and the ability to play continuously - two of the most common causes of problem gambling.

"This is not a simple commercial decision. We would hate to see the Commission becoming responsible for state sponsored gambling harm."

Mr Stansfield says that much of the damage being done by pokie bars and casinos could have been avoided if a proper assessment of their impact had been done before they were introduced.

"We must learn from the mistakes of the past," he says.

"There should be wide public consultation before any move is made to increase the number of gambling opportunities at a time when we are facing huge problems from existing forms of gambling.

"If the Commission can't prove to the public that their plans are safe they should be dropped."

Mr Stansfield is unimpressed by arguments that there is strong consumer demand for online gambling that should be met.

"You could say that about all sorts of things," he says.

"I am sure there is an online market for illicit drugs or sub-machine guns but that doesn't mean it should be met.

"Putting Lottery products online is not the same as providing online access to other government services. There are wider considerations."

Mr Stansfield says he is surprised that the Commission appears to have done a lot of work on the technical and marketing aspects of online sales without thinking about the social aspects of their plans.

He says this approach is the wrong way around and that the Commission has a responsibility to taxpayers that supersedes normal commercial considerations.

"They are talking about the type of software they will use but problem gambling treatment providers and other community agencies have been kept totally in the dark."


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