Australian Legislators Continue To Discuss Casino Reform
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has been working all year on casino gambling reform, and lawmakers in Australia are still coming up with new ideas. The latest idea circulating is to limit bets to $1 on slot machines at Australian casinos. It is something being considered strongly by legislators, and one that would change the gaming industry in the country.
The federal government has proposed a mandatory pre-commitment program at casinos. Gamblers would only be allowed to lose $120 an hour, and that would be regulated within the machines. After that amount of money was lost, the machine would no longer allow the gambler to play. It is a plan that the casinos are strongly opposed to.
The Greens have come up with their own plan, one in which the $1 maximum bet would be implemented. In this scenario, gamblers would only be permitted to gamble $1 per bet, and could win jackpots of no more than $500. While the proposal may help problem gambling, it would also cripple the gaming industry.
Up until now, the casinos have been pushing for an optional pre-commitment program. The government, however, has stuck to their guns on the hard implementation of the program. Wilkie has given his approval to the $1 limits, and has even wavered on his call for the pre-commitment program. The gaming industry wants neither plan implemented.
James Packer, who runs Crown, the biggest casino company in Australia, is set to discuss with the government the plans being proposed. Packer will give his opinion on the issue, which should be paid attention to by lawmakers who Packer has supported over the years. Even if Packer disagrees with the pre-commitment program, the government is prepared to move forward with the plan.
Australia, like other countries, is dealing with a slight rise in problem gambling cases. Casino gambling has become more prevalent worldwide over the past decade, as many countries have dealt with economic issues. Wilkie has been joined in his opposition to the current system in Australia by Senator Nick Xenophon.
The government has maintained that they support the gaming industry in Australia. Treasurer Wayne Swan believes that there is a line that can be toed when dealing with the casinos and their owners, many of whom are contributors to the political landscape in the country.
"It is controversial and it is causing a degree of public debate, but we can't walk away from this issue," said Swan, to ABC Radio. "You can support the club industry and want to deal with problem gambling at the same time, and that's what the government is doing."
October 27, 2011
Posted By April Gardner
Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com
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