The NSW Government’s proposal that all “gaming machine” players register and preload money onto a government-regulated card that would operate similarly to the state’s cashless Opal cards (which are for public transport) is welcomed with caution.
NSW gamblers fed a staggering $2.17 billion to poker machines in late 2020 – the highest yearly increase since 2017 according to a latest report.
Gamblers in New South Wales lost millions more to club poker machines in the second half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 confirming FamilyVoice findings that gambling has boomed under COVID-19.
Whilst Church leaders have pleaded with MPs to back the NSW Government's plans for a state-issued gambling card, warning that harm minimisation measures are grossly inadequate, FamilyVoice is urging the government to extend the card proposal to all modes of gambling – racing, casinos, sport betting and on-line gamblers through the establishment of a Repeat Offenders register.
“Targeting only poker machine gambling is a wolf in sheep’s clothing as it will force problem gamblers to alternative gambling options”, said Greg Bondar.
Gambling, whether casinos or other forms, is a serious wealth hazard with a recent report showing that people who bet 3.6% of monthly outgoings were a third more likely to miss a mortgage payment. It is a proven fact that each game one plays at a casino has a statistical probability against that person winning.
“FamilyVoice is committed to ensuring that families do not suffer additional hardships under COVID-19 which has resulted in job losses, confinement, and unfortunately deaths which has severely impacted the family,” said FamilyVoice Gambling Reform spokesman Greg Bondar.
“Gambling is blatantly anti-family, soul-destroying and harmful.
“When mortgages go unpaid, family violence increases and mental health suffers.
“We call on all media to stop promoting gambling on radio and TV, especially advertising in peak viewing and listening times,” added Mr Bondar.