Welcome to October
Gambling Harm Awareness Week in October provided a good opportunity to celebrate progress being made around the country on gambling reform, while pushing for further reform addressing the escalating national losses and other gambling harms.
And with poker machine losses at $14.5b across five states - 13.7% higher than the last full pre-covid year 2018-19, Australians are coming in first as the world biggest gambling losers by a mile. It all seems at odds with the current cost of living crisis, but in another way makes sense that when people are feeling pressure they might be seeking out a quick win or a way to escape the daily reality. Either way, as the tagline says ‘chances are you are about to lose’ and these losses translate into significant and growing harm across our communities.
This is confirmed by research from Angela Rintoul highlighting the link between suicide and gambling released last month.
Compelling new research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies Australian Gambling Research Centre National Gambling Trends Study has also confirmed that regular gamblers aged between 18 and 34 years old are at the greatest risk of gambling harm.
A new Alliance Position Paper, ‘Australian Superannuation Fund Investments in Gambling’, reveals that the ten biggest funds all hold at least one major gambling shareholding in their portfolio. This is particularly disappointing when you consider that some super funds claim that they are investing member funds ethically!
On the national front, we have seen some promised reforms legislated including a ban on credit, the new Betstop self-exclusion scheme and changes to gaming products with gambling like features. While the Alliance would like to see legislation in all these areas go further, this certainly signals a positive change.
And with technology and expansion of gambling occurring at a rapid pace, the Alliance has joined with CHOICE and over 20 other groups to underscore the critical need for comprehensive and robust privacy reforms.
There has been a flurry of policy activity across states and federally and the Alliance has been hard at work providing submissions and meeting with key politicians to ensure that reforms do achieve their objectives to reduce harm. Our leadership councils are more active than ever before in working to do this in their communities with harm prevention policies and forums being rolled out at pace. These are all good signs on the road towards an Australia free from gambling harm!
Welcome to our September NEWSLETTER
There is usually a lull in Canberra over the winter break from parliament, but for those of us working towards gambling reform, this has been a very busy period. The Federal Parliament is now focusing on gambling reform, especially in the wake of the federal inquiry into online gambling and its impact on those experiencing gambling harm. Change is on the way.
Tim and I had the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese to discuss the reforms and the Alliance’s views on the government’s response to the inquiry report. We have also met with the Leader of the Federal Opposition, Peter Dutton; Office of the Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland; Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth; federal crossbench MPs and Greens Senator Janet Rice to discuss the way forward on online gambling.
Welcome to our MARCH NEWSLETTER
There is so much potential for gambling reform on so many fronts and featuring highly on both State and Commonwealth agendas. The chorus of voices calling for our political leaders to step up and do something to remove the hold that gambling has over every aspect of our lives from our sport to advertising, online to our phones – we are saturated in availability of gambling products at every turn.
Welcome to our JUNE NEWSLETTER
The Alliance for Gambling Reform is making a difference. We have seen real progress in gambling reform thanks to the tireless work and support of a growing movement for change. The last few weeks alone has seen:
three private members bills tabled in federal parliament to ban gambling ads
significant fines imposed on Crown Casino (to date now around $750m in total!)
a decision by the NT government not to grant 20 additional poker machine licenses in Alice Springs with community campaigning at an all-time high
a focus on the role of sporting codes in promoting gambling
calls for strengthened privacy legislation to protect our kids from gambling companies collecting their data (and we join in a Digital Rights Watch campaign)
several motions from Councils adopted at the Australian Local Government Association conference to reduce gambling harm
a campaign by local MLA Marisa Paterson in Canberra to make a new development ‘pokies free’
And then the Guardian banned all forms of gambling advertising globally – which meant not taking an estimated millions of dollars in advertising revenue!
Welcome to our FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER
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.
Welcome to our MAY NEWSLETTER
Our joint symposium Tackling Gambling Harm in Australia, co-hosted with the Public Health Association of Australia, was held on Monday 1 May in Adelaide. It was a pre-preventive health conference event and provided an excellent opportunity to partner with the health sector to bring together more than 100 people to hear from Australia’s leading experts in gambling harm. The symposium provided a focus on finding solutions to address the harm that can and does arise from gambling. The need for gambling harm to be a recognised public health issue underpinned by a national strategy and real investment in prevention, treatment, support and research was a key outcome.
Important and overdue reform including a ban on gambling advertising was given high priority by participants at the symposium. Its high on the Alliance’s list of priorities too. A huge thank you to those who are making a regular donation of $10 a month to support our End Gambling Ads Campaign! As the Alliance does not receive state or federal government funding, this support is invaluable in enabling us to do our policy and advocacy work.