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Gambling reform in focus


Jane Munro
2 November 2010
Two members of the Southern Cross University Centre for Gambling Education and Research have been appointed to the Ministerial Expert Advisory Group on Gambling which was formed last month to advise the government on gambling reform.

Professor Nerilee Hing, director of the Centre for Gambling Education and Research and Mr Ashley Gordon, consultant and a member of the Centre for Gambling Education and Research will attend the inaugural meeting on Monday, November 8 along with 20 other industry representatives.

Professor Hing said she was delighted to have been invited to be part of the group at a time when significant changes in gambling policy have been proposed.

“Following the Productivity Commission's inquiry into gambling, which reported earlier this year and new political pressures from Independent MPs there is a substantial push for gambling reform,” Professor Hing said.

“I am greatly looking forward to having a role in helping to shape that reform. It will also be a good opportunity to showcase the work of the Centre for Gambling Education and Research which is at the forefront of gambling research in Australia.”

The group will consider a range of key issues including the management of poker machines in the community.

“It is a very sad fact that a substantial proportion of poker machine revenue is derived from people with significant gambling problems, with these problems then impacting negatively, sometimes devastatingly, on gamblers, their children, families and communities,” Professor Hing said.

“We should be helping people with gambling problems as best we can, not profiting from them. There are many poker machine reforms that would better prevent and minimise gambling harm and some of those are already on the group's agenda. They include: a pre-commitment scheme on poker machines; the roll out of poker machine dynamic warning and cost of play displays; and establishing ATM withdrawal limits in venues with poker machines.”

Mr Gordon is an Indigenous research consultant who has worked on several Indigenous gambling research projects with the Centre for Gambling Education and Research.

He said he was very excited to be involved in what he regards as a very important group.

“Hopefully we can make some positive decisions to begin addressing Aboriginal gambling in this country,” Mr Gordon said.

“The issue of problem gambling in Aboriginal communities needs to be taken more seriously by all stakeholders. Aboriginal people have been suffering from problem gambling for some time now and unfortunately we have limited culturally appropriate programs and quality services to address this growing concern.

“I see this as an opportunity to be a voice for Aboriginal people and with this responsibility I wish to enlighten government on the issues, trends and concerns in relation to problem gambling evident in many communities.”

Photo: Professor Nerilee Hing, director of the Centre for Gambling Education and Research.