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Carol Bennett

Chief Executive Officer

Message from the CEO

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.  

While online gambling is the main issue in Federal Parliament, maintaining relationships with key state politicians and decision-making bodies to advocate for important reforms for land-based gambling is still a priority. We are actively involved in consultations with numerous calls for submissions on key reforms from a cashless card in the ACT to responsible codes of conduct and poker machine reforms in Victoria. 

The good news is that we finally saw the long-awaited launch of BetStop, the national self-exclusion register! We are hopeful that this will provide much needed reprieve for those wanting to remove themselves from betting sites and the constant bombardment of advertising and marketing from the gambling industry. Having signed up myself, I can say it seemed a straightforward process and it seems to work given I cannot open new accounts, but of course the Alliance would like to hear from anyone who has any problems with the system. Ironing out any gremlins will be important to ensuring it works for those who most need it to.

There has been continued private members bills to parliaments on key gambling reform from bans on credit to advertising to bans on political donations – it’s a time of unprecedented representation in parliaments around the country on gambling reform.

Excitement about what all this activity means does come with some caveats – we still see continued record losses around the country from poker machines. And we know that online gambling is catching up at a rapid pace.  

We now need to capture this moment and ensure that the words match the actions and result in real reductions in gambling harm. 

Join us to end gambling harm by making a regular donation of just $10 a month to support our End Gambling Ads Campaign

Alliance meets
Prime Minister Albanese


Carol Bennett, Rev Tim Costello and the Hon Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, at Parliament House, ACT


Our CEO, Carol Bennett and Chief Advocate, Rev Tim Costello, had a meeting with the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese in August.

It was a meaningful discussion, looking at the impact of online gambling harm and important reform measures we hope to see in the government’s response to the national inquiry into online gambling and its impacts on those experiencing gambling harm.  


It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet with several independents, crossbenchers, as well as the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton to discuss the need for leadership and a strong response to the national inquiry.


Excellent meetings on Monday 8 August between Alliance CEO Carol Bennett and Chief Advocate Tim Costello and Rebekah Sharkie MP, Kate Chaney MP, Zoe Daniel MP, and Sen David Pocock at Parliament House, Canberra. Great to see such support for gambling reform from our independents!

Lara Alexander MP (Independent Member for Bass); John Tucker MP (Independent Member for Lyons), together with Chief Advocate, Rev Tim Costello and CEO, Carol Bennett.


Alliance meets with Tasmanian MPs to discuss Gambling Reforms

Carol and Tim travelled to Tasmania to meet with Tasmanian MPs Lara Alexander and John Tucker to support mandatory pre-commitment and carded gambling in Tasmania.

The scheme comes into place in late 2024 and has bipartisan commitment. It represents the gold standard for addressing gambling harm, money laundering and crime as recommended by the NSW Crime Commission, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and various reviews and experts.


When implemented, it will be an Australian first, setting the scene for other jurisdictions to follow.


We thank the Tasmanian independents for their commitment to reducing gambling harm in Tasmania.

It’s time to bring home important gambling reforms!

There is a rolling landscape of gambling reforms being considered across our country thanks largely to your support along with thousands of other Australians who have backed the Alliance to make positive change for our families and communities.


As the only national organisation working to prevent and reduce gambling harm, we need your help to capture the opportunities that are emerging now and ensure we harness the momentum to achieve the changes our communities so desperately need.


We are making great in roads across the country including our first ever meeting with the Prime Minister, as well as the Leader of the Federal Opposition, Minister for Communications, Minister for Social Services, crossbench MPs and Greens and key state politicians to advocate for important reform.


Will you donate to the Alliance today so we can keep pushing for meaningful reform?


We are seeking your donations to enable us to continue pushing for evidence-based reforms to gambling in Australia. Every dollar we receive helps us reduce gambling harm.

As always, thank you for supporting our work to make Australia a safer and fairer nation.


If you wish to make a donation via bank transfer

Alliance For Gambling Reform Inc

Bank Australia

BSB: 313-140

Account Number: 12137211

Massive fines and new regulation from VGCCC

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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has been busy safeguarding the public from gambling harm. 

Victoria’s largest poker machine operator, ALH has been fined $550,000 for gambling harm breaches in Victoria, after a sting operation across a number of venues.

Following an anonymous tip off, it was found that a number of ALH venues did not have the required YourPlay mandatory pre-commitment technology operating on a number of their poker machines. 

The maximum fine for these offences is $1.3 million.
You can find out more about the failures to minimise harm here.

Online gambling operator BlueBet has the possibility of massive fines from the VGCCC who are charging the operator with 43 charges relating to alleged unlawful gambling advertising.

If BlueBet is found guilty of all the charges, it faces a maximum fine of up to $954,187.20. You can read more here

The Alliance was also thrilled to see the VGCCC taking strong steps to ban betting on minors in sport events. This legislation came about due to “betting on minors [being] contrary to the public interest and poses potential integrity and gambling related harm concerns”. You can find out more here.

The VGCCC has also moved to closely monitor betting on the Brownlow medal; with strict provisions and integrity oversights now in place.

3 Billion


Gambling losses throughout Australia

A snapshot of key figures in Queensland and Victoria present grim findings. 


People in Queensland lost a record $301 million through poker machines alone in July 2023.

Queenslanders lost approximately $750 per poker machine user - ringing alarm bells for both advocates and academics.

Sadly, Queensland isn’t alone, with local government area data for Victoria showing staggering EGM losses. For the first time, 
annual losses reached over $3 billion, demonstrating that hoped for reductions in poker machine use after COVID disruptions have not materialised.

Brimbank is a local government area with some of the state’s highest losses with of over $14.9 million being lost through poker machines in July alone.

Rural areas, such as the Rural City of Mildura also had significant losses, with over $3.4 million for the month.

These figures underscore the urgent need for real reform to reduce gambling harm from poker machines.

Save the date!

Keep an eye on your inbox for your formal invitation to our special Gambling Harm Awareness week event for our wonderful supporters. We’d love to see you there!

Policy and Submissions

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ACT MLA Marisa Paterson MLA launched ‘Keep Molonglo Pokie-Free’' in the Canberra community on Tuesday 2 May 2023 - an Australian first! The Alliance for Gambling Reform welcomes Marisa's leadership in making our new local suburbs pokies free.

The Alliance has been kept busy working on a number of submissions.


In the ACT, we have provided a response to the inquiry into cashless gambling and stressed the need for an identity linked system with mandatory pre-commitment that is binding and has reasonable default limits.


Read our submission, Inquiry into Cashless Gaming - ACT Legislative Assembly, or You can read more in our Chief Advocate’s op-ed here.


In other ACT news, Marisa Paterson MLA has introduced legislation to keep the developing area of Molonglo Valley and undeveloped areas of the ACT poker machine free. This follows strong community support following the ‘Keep Molonglo Pokie-Free' campaign.


In Victoria, the state has two community consultations open, the first a review of the Responsible Gambling codes of conduct covering six, different gambling operators; wagering and betting, bookmaking, bingo, keno, commercial raffles and public lotteries.

The consultation on poker machine reforms covers carded play, mandatory pre-commitment, venue closure times, load up limits for machines, spin rates, play periods, data collection, cashless gaming, identity verification and self-exclusion.

We encourage you to get involved in this community consultation and share your thoughts or concerns through the Victorian engagement portal using the links above and the Alliance will be using the opportunity to share our views on ways gambling harm can be reduced in Victoria through strong and progressive reforms.


As these submissions and others are made public, the Alliance will share them on our social media pages, website and in our next newsletter.


And in NT, a decision from the NT government to approve a doubling of the number of gaming machines (from 10 to 20) at Todd Tavern and Gap View Hotel is being contested by No Pokies Mparntwe who are represented by Maurice Blackburn. 


The group have challenged the expansion on the grounds that poker machines cause immense harm in Alice Springs, especially to the indigenous population who are disproportionately impacted. 

The Alliance wish them well in their bid to overturn this decision! 



Kat Copsey 31.08.23.jpg

Katherine Copsey MLC, speaking at Parliament House Victoria on gambling advocacy and reform.

It was great to see so many council officers at the Municipal Association of Victoria Local Government Gambling Alcohol and Other Drugs Issue Forum where we took councils through a snapshot of all the recent gambling reforms.

The Victorian Government is undertaking community consultation in September regarding the EGM reforms announced, as well as asking for community feedback on responsible gambling codes of conduct.

Leadership Council officers have been invited to join the Alliance in early September for workshops to gain their insight and generate discussion to inform submissions to the consultations.


AGR staff had the opportunity to stop and reflect with other gambling reform advocates and stakeholders on the impacts of our advocacy. Thanks to Katherine Copsey MLC, Member for Southern Metropolitan and Victorian Greens Spokesperson for Gambling Harm Reduction for inviting us along to Parliament House to chat with other stakeholders, acknowledge the wins that decades of committed work has produced and look to our upcoming challenges.


Gambling Harm Awareness Week

As we hurtle towards October, councils are starting to plan activities for Gambling Harm Awareness Week. We encourage you to start thinking about how to mark this week in your community if you haven’t already, and please reach out for ideas or other support if you need it. Also don’t forget to let us know if you have an event planned, we’d love to help promote it!


Frankton City Council and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

Talk. Share. Support - A community conversation about online gambling harm.

These neighbouring southeast Melbourne councils have partnered to run a gambling harm awareness week event that brings the community together to discuss gambling harm. The event on October 12 in Mt Eliza includes our own Chief Advocate, Tim Costello, Federal MP for Dunkley and Chair of the parliamentary inquiry into online gambling, Peta Murphy as well as people with lived experience of gambling harm and local sporting clubs for conversations aimed to improve community understanding about online gambling harm.



Hume City Council Gambling Harm Symposium

The Gambling Harm Symposium on October 2 in Craigieburn is a must-attend gathering for anyone interested in understanding and tackling the challenges associated with gambling.


Speakers include;

  • Dr Charles Livingstone – Associate Professor Monash University

  • Dr Lauren Gurrieri – Associate Professor RMIT University

  • Rev. Tim Costello - Chief Advocate, Alliance for Gambling Reform

  • Fran Thorn – Chair, Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission

  • Three Sides of the Coin – Lived experience storytellers performing their stories of gambling harm

  • Cameron McLeod – CEO, The Huddle

  • Stephanie Convery – Inequality Reporter, The Guardian Australia


This event is invite only. For more information and to express interest in attending, please contact Jamad Ahmed, Social Policy & Planning Officer at


City of Monash campaign

Monash has launched an eye-catching campaign based around its Public Health Approach to Gambling Harm Policy that prevents the promotion of gambling products or venues by groups using its buildings or receiving Council funding. The “You’re reading this ad” campaign will be displayed across Council buildings such as community centres, sporting pavilions and libraries as well as promoted via social media, demonstrating the power of advertising in influencing public health outcomes and the need to claim public spaces for uses that support wellbeing and stronger communities, not for gambling advertising or promotion.


Application in the City of Wyndham

Hotel 520 in Tarneit has applied for an additional 12 EGMs which is expected to be heard by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission in November. Neighbouring councils as well as the general public can make a submission regarding the application.  Information on the application and how to submit can be found here.

Share your

We invite you to share your personal experiences of gambling harm in Australia. Whether you've faced this challenge yourself or witnessed the struggles of someone close to you, your story has the power to inspire change and improve awareness.


We know that all communities are impacted by gambling, but the true impact is often hidden. Real stories from real people who’ve experienced gambling harm are a powerful vehicle for influencing social change. Your lived experience offers valuable insight into the consequences of gambling for our whole community. Your story will help us to advocate for change that benefits everyone.


You can remain anonymous if you prefer. Nothing will be shared or published without your consent.


Please write your story to us via Facebook or email us at

Media Releases

Opinion Pieces

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Can we really trust clubs to help gamblers?

The Canberra Times

Martin Thomas

20 June 2024

The ACT is among the most advanced in the country in pushing towards a mandatory, cashless gambling card.

Evidence shows such a card with pre-set and binding limits will be the best weapon we have in effectively curbing gambling harm.

And according to the NSW Crime Commission it will not only limit gambling harm but it will also tackle the billions of dollars from the proceeds of crime that is fed into poker machines across the country every year.

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Gambling industry now targeting and grooming children

The Canberra Times

Martin Thomas

13 June 2024

Our kids are being deliberately targeted and groomed by the gambling industry.

A new pilot study released by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education last week revealed children as young as 14 were being targeted by social media ads urging them to download gambling apps on their phones.

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Gender-based violence, gambling and the hypocrisy of the AFL

The Canberra Times

By Tim Costello - Chief Advocate - Alliance for Gambling Reform

10 May 2024

Amid the national spotlight that has finally shone on Australia’s domestic violence crisis, the AFL decided that in all their games last weekend they would highlight the issue with a minute’s silence before play.

While it was poignant to see young men standing in solidarity with women against violence, for the AFL itself the move was hypocritical.

The AFL reaps multiple millions of dollars from gambling sponsorship and advertising – the losses from gambling are a substantial factor fuelling domestic violence – so without greater action against gambling the league is simply ‘virtue signalling’.

In The News

Labor urged to outlaw betting ‘rewards’ luring Australians into gambling

Labor urged to outlaw betting ‘rewards’ luring Australians into gambling

The Guardian

9 July 2024

The Alliance for Gambling Reform blamed weak advertising and consumer protection laws for the promotions it says are carefully designed to make customers believe they are placing “safer” bets and that a win is more likely.

Queensland LNP promises to increase pokies cap for clubs with more than two premises

Queensland LNP promises to increase pokies cap for clubs with more than two premises

ABC News

2 July 2024

n the 2022-23 financial year, Queenslanders lost more than more than $5 billion to gambling — of which about $3.2 billion was lost through poker machines.

Alliance for Gambling Reform interim chief executive Martin Thomas said his organisation was opposed to the proposal to increase the cap on gaming machines at clubs with multiple sites.

A third of Australian bets found to be placed by problem gamblers amid warning of ‘predatory’ industry

A third of Australian bets found to be placed by problem gamblers amid warning of ‘predatory’ industry

The Guardian

25 June 2024

The polling implied 3.26 million Australians had made a sports wager in the year to March – more than double the 7% found to have bet between April 2019 and March 2020.

The results were released on Tuesday by the Alliance for Gambling Reform to mark the first anniversary of a major parliamentary report calling for a ban on online gambling ads and making other recommendations.

‘Wasted opportunity’: No recommendation on cashless gaming in ACT inquiry report

‘Wasted opportunity’: No recommendation on cashless gaming in ACT inquiry report


3 July 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief advocate Tim Costello said there is no need for a trial.

“The evidence is overwhelming that cashless gaming works,” Reverend Costello said.

“The 1999 Productivity Commission report recommended the introduction of mandatory cashless cards.

“Canberra always boasts about how progressive it is, but it’s still dragging its feet for 25 years on cashless gaming.

“ACT and NSW Labor have $120 million of assets in pokies clubs. It’s the most obvious and horrible conflict.”

A third of Australian bets found to be placed by problem gamblers amid warning of ‘predatory’ industry

A third of Australian bets found to be placed by problem gamblers amid warning of ‘predatory’ industry

The Guardian

27 June 2024

Roy Morgan polling of 16,000 Australians found 15.5% had bet on sport in the 12 months to March. It also revealed problem gamblers made up almost 20% of some sports betting companies’ customer base. The results were released on Tuesday by the Alliance for Gambling Reform to mark the first anniversary of a major parliamentary report calling for a ban on online gambling ads and making other recommendations. The group’s Interim CEO, Martin Thomas said: “These are huge numbers and they highlight how a predatory online gambling industry is ensnaring a whole new generation into gambling.

1 In 3 Bets Placed by Aussies Last Year Were Made By Problem Gamblers, Grim New Data Shows

1 In 3 Bets Placed by Aussies Last Year Were Made By Problem Gamblers, Grim New Data Shows

Pedestrian TV

25 June 2024

The findings were released by Alliance for Gambling Reform and come on the one-year anniversary of a parliamentary report which called for stronger regulations around online gambling advertising, among other recommendations. Martin Thomas, the Interim CEO of Alliance for Gambling Reform, described the numbers in the research as “huge”, saying they highlight a “predatory online gambling industry” that is “ensnaring a whole new generation into gambling.” Thomas pointed to the “inescapable torrent” gambling ads as having a “normalising” effect on betting, and said advertising is “grooming children and young people to gamble”.

We Are Hiring:
Project Officer

Do you want to be part of the movement to reduce the impact of gambling harm in Australia?

We need a dynamic people-orientated person with good management skills to run some of our most important projects.

The role includes managing key Alliance projects, including facilitating the voices of lived experience program, running public events, supporting our work with local councils and other partners.

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