Andrew Wilkie, Australian Independent MP, wants Australia to have more strict measures for pokies machines. He claims that the poker machines prey on the vulnerable in society. He is hoping that the Australian government will make the same decision that the United Kingdom (UK) made to reduce the Fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs)’ maximum bet.
MP Wilkie is known to be against the gaming machines. He has said that his pleas have fallen on deaf ears in the past. He also said that the Australian government turned a blind eye on the issues of poker machines and rejected any policies that would restrict the gaming machines.
Tim Costello, an anti-gambling activist, has also come out in support for the UK FOBT decision. He said that Australia should follow suit and tackle the serious social damage that poker machines cause. He went on to say that the politicians have allowed the pokies to be distributed in every suburb especially the most deprived areas. It is for that reason that Australia has the highest gambling losses.
In the past week, the UK announced that they would be reducing the FOBT maximum stake from £100 (AU$177.35) to £2 (AU$3.55). This decision affected a few of the online gambling operators. It is because they will have required implementing strong verification laws. They will also have to set limits on spending from their players.
MP Wilkie wants the Australian government to lay the law that will make the FOBT maximum bet to be AU$1. He wants the government to have measures in place to also minimise harm.
New South Wales has a maximum of AU$10 for each spin on poker machines. This can easily generate revenue of AU$1200 per hour. In Victoria, the pubs and club pokies machines have a maximum bet of AU$5 which can bring in revenue of about AU$600 in an hour.
If the AU$1 maximum bet is introduced it will not end the gambling problem; however, it will reduce the chances of harm. It has been found that 80% of gambling problems is from playing poker machines.