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Amendments to reduce gambling harm applauded

Problem Gambling Foundation applauds amendments to reduce gambling harm

The Problem Gambling Foundation welcomes the series of amendments to Te Ururoa Flavell’s Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill announced yesterday by Labour Party Internal Affairs spokesperson, Trevor Mallard.

Graeme Ramsey, Problem Gambling Foundation CEO, says this puts real harm minimisation measures back into the bill.

“The bill has been completely stripped of any effective harm minimisation measures so these amendments will put them back on the table,” he says.

The amendments announced include requiring all class 4 gambling operators and casinos to use player tracking devices, pre-commitment cards, or other devices designed to permit responsible gambling.

Graeme Ramsey says player tracking and mandatory pre-commitment are important tools to minimise gambling-related harm.

“Pre-commitment is a way of giving the gambler control before they start gambling by allowing them to set the amount of time and money they spend,” he says.

“For it to be effective as a prevention tool it needs to be mandatory.”

The Problem Gambling Foundation is pleased the proposed amendments would also reinstate the provision that Territorial Local Authorities must have regard to the social impact of gambling, the evidence of harm from gambling and public sentiment about the extent and location of gambling venues.

“We know pokies are dangerous, addictive machines and more people are becoming aware of the social impact this is having on their communities,” Graeme Ramsey says.

“Communities should be able to have their say about the number of pokies and venues in their neighbourhoods or whether they want them at all.”

Supplementary Order Paper 301 tabled in the amendments would require an integrated problem gambling strategy to include host responsibility requirements and standards.

Graeme Ramsey says this would go a long way towards reducing the harm caused by gambling.

“Effective host responsibility is a vital and integral part of harm minimisation. We need to ensure that venue operators meet stringent host responsibility measures,” he says.

“This will raise the bar for host responsibility if a venue faces having their operator’s license cancelled or suspended by not meeting the requirements.”

The Problem Gambling Foundation also welcomes the increased transparency proposed in the amendments and the reduction of pokie numbers over time.

ENDS

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