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Welcome to February



Our first newsletter of the year highlights what has been an eventful start to the year, especially in the lead up to the NSW state election.  Gambling is a key election issue, and we have seen more meaningful debate and commitment to gambling reform in the space of a month than would usually occur over a year! 

We have seen Premier Perrottet commit to cashless gambling, albeit with limitations including the timeframes too long and default limits not enforced.  Opposition leader Chris Minns is maintaining his commitment to another limited trial of cashless gambling in some pubs and clubs.  Greens and some key independents have committed to cashless gambling.

The Alliance released our formal cashless gambling policy outlining a 14 point plan based on the evidence of what is likely to be most effective.  We also launched our own campaign encouraging and providing resources to our supporters to write to their local Labor MP or candidate.  Our public and media advocacy (including dozens of media interviews by our Chief Advocate, the Rev Tim Costello and a large number of published opinion pieces and interviews) has been at an all-time high. 

So too, losses to gambling have hit an all-time high.  NSW Liquor and Gaming figures show a $2.1b loss in 92 days between July and September!

On a positive note, it has been affirming to see the chorus of voices including public health organisations from the Australian Medical Association and Australasian College of Surgeons to the Public Health Association of Australia take up the baton and support our cashless gambling policy and the broader need for gambling reform. 

On a broader level, the issue of political donations received some attention when figures were released by the Australian Electoral Commission highlighted the extent of contributions from gambling and alcohol companies.  We joined with the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) to call for a ban on political donations that put profits ahead of public health.

The coming months promise plenty of action at the federal government level when it comes to online gambling and advertising as well as the roll out of the National Consumer Protection Framework.  The long awaited Betstop! national self-exclusion program will shortly be launched.  The inquiry into online gambling is currently hearing from witnesses and will report its findings in May.    


And you will have an exciting opportunity to participate in the Alliance’s joint forum with the Public Health Association of Australia on 1 May: Social Justice meets public health: tackling gambling harm in Australia.  More details in this edition.

I hope that our next newsletter will headline a new era in gambling reform post the NSW election.

Carol Bennett

Alliance for Gambling Reform CEO

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What an amazing year 2022 has been for the Alliance for Gambling Reform!

The Alliance was pleased to be one of the first witnesses called to give evidence (following our submission) to the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee national Inquiry into online gambling and its impact on those experiencing gambling harm in early December.

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Gambling Harm Awareness Week was held 16-24 October in most states, and we used the opportunity to raise awareness about gambling harm as well as launching our Victorian Election policy platform.

Our Election policy platform launch took place at a well-attended event in Deer Park, Melbourne where we highlighted the need for uniform opening hours throughout Victoria.

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New research leads to calls to establish a national gambling regulator.

Australians lost more than $11.4 billion to poker machines in pubs and clubs across five states last year according to the first comprehensive, national analysis of available loss figures which cements Australia as the world’s biggest losers to poker machines per person.

And the researchers warn that without the pandemic restrictions, hotel and club gambling machine losses are likely to exceed $13 billion next year.



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