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Welcome to our
SEPTEMBER
NEWSLETTER

Check out all our latest updates

09/2023

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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! 

Councils
and

Supporters

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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.

Bookings: https://communityconversation_onlinegamblingharm.eventbrite.com.au

 

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 JamadA@hume.vic.gov.au.

 

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.

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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
Voice

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 info@agr.org.au

Media Releases

Opinion Pieces

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Does anyone have a chance in a race against big gambling?

The Advocate

Rev Tim Costello

21 Feb 2024

Is Australia's political system corrupt?

Can money and power buy the outcomes it wants and do our political leaders yield to their influence if it aligns with their own personal interests or the interests of their party?

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Gambling reform in Tasmania is too important not have bipartisan support

Examiner newspaper

Rev Tim Costello

17 Feb 2024

If Tasmania successfully progresses with its plans to introduce a cashless pokies card, it will represent a 'gold standard' in reducing gambling harm.

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Online gambling does great harm. Why is government rolling the dice with public health?

Rev Tim Costello, Chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform

11 Jan 2024

When is a parliamentary inquiry not a real parliamentary inquiry? When the minister responsible decides to hold a series of private meetings, behind closed doors, with organisations that have a vested interest in the outcome – many of which didn’t bother to put in a submission to the public inquiry.

In The News

This community club took extreme measures to kill off its pokies

This community club took extreme measures to kill off its pokies

The Age

6 April 2024

“The Hastings Club is reacting to state regulations that limit its capacity to meet increased liabilities at a time when returns from gambling are diminishing,” said the Alliance for Gambling Reform chief executive Carol Bennett.

“The government should be providing clubs every opportunity to surrender poker machine entitlements for the benefit of the community, but this is unlikely given the parlous budgetary situation in Victoria,” she said.

“A government focussed on reducing gambling harm would strive to reduce overall pokies entitlements altogether. Revenue from gambling should not be propping up the Victorian budget.”

“An Error Was Made In Round One”: Tabcorp Admits To Breaching Its Own Advertising Rules

“An Error Was Made In Round One”: Tabcorp Admits To Breaching Its Own Advertising Rules

Bandt

3 April 2024

The mistake has raised calls for gambling advertising reform with the ground-based ads engraining gambling practice within the sport itself. According to the Alliance For Gambling Reform, three in every four kids believe that gambling is a normal part of sports, and anyone 12 or younger has never watched a sporting game without bearing witness to gambling advertising of some capacity.

“I am now reluctant to allow my child to view the footy fixture online due to the ‘Bet Easy’ icon next to the game. I also feel annoyed and dismayed at the AFL that they have allowed a gambling company to infiltrate the game,” an anonymous source told the Alliance For Gambling Reform.

Have your say on whether $8m pokie-free Warringah Golf Club House should be able to serve alcohol

Have your say on whether $8m pokie-free Warringah Golf Club House should be able to serve alcohol

The Daily Telegraph

2 April 2024

Outspoken anti-poker machine campaigner and supporter of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Pat Daley, praised the club for going pokie-free.

Mr Daley, who pushed for gambling reforms while a councillor with Northern Beaches and Warringah councils, said it th golf club was seen as a “real example of what can be done” as NSW moves towards a reduction in macines and tougher poker machine policies.

“The proposed new club has wide support in the local community”.

NSW Netball Teams Back Gambling Ad Ban

NSW Netball Teams Back Gambling Ad Ban

B&T

5 April 2024

The mistake raised calls for gambling advertising reform with the ground-based ads engraining gambling practice within the sport itself. According to the Alliance For Gambling Reform, three in every four kids believe that gambling is a normal part of sports, and anyone 12 or younger has never watched a sporting game without bearing witness to gambling advertising of some capacity.

'Dud' policy or 'absolutely essential'? Battlelines drawn over the best ways to reduce gambling harm

'Dud' policy or 'absolutely essential'? Battlelines drawn over the best ways to reduce gambling harm

Riotact

2 April 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform CEO Carol Bennett asked why the two had to be mutually exclusive.

“Why wouldn’t we aim for both?” she asked.

ACTCOSS CEO Devin Bowles added: “Having a system that encompasses the whole jurisdiction is absolutely essential if we want to minimise gambling harms.”

‘We know the community is over it’: how self-regulation of gambling ads came unstuck minutes into an AFL game

‘We know the community is over it’: how self-regulation of gambling ads came unstuck minutes into an AFL game

The Guardian

1 April 2024

Tim Costello, the Chief Advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, says the return of football has reminded many families of what they hate: “a tsunami of gambling and sports betting ads”. “Fans hate it,” Costello says. “Parents hate it. But the AFL is unmoved. Do gambling interests now completely own our game?”

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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