Clubs Australia protests against Government's recommendations

Productivity Commission's recommendations "lacking in common sense" says land gambling trade body

The president of the land gambling trade association Clubs Australia, Peter Newell has questioned the recommendations of the government-commissioned Productivity Commission rgearding changes to Australian gambling.

The Commission recently submitted 41 recommendations, among them a notable comment that regulating online gambling may be a better course than banning it (see previous InfoPowa report).

Newell argued that liberalising internet gambling and the uses of credit cards are laws "lacking common sense," when online gambling revenues grow a quarter every year compared with the 1.1 percent per annum in [land] poker machines.

In a press release issued this week, Newell was protesting the tough restrictions on land "pokies" and said that the Productivity Commission's recommendations had failed to recognise the contributions that clubs had made to local economies such as employment and donations to charities. His statement included the claim that the new pokie restrictions could be at the cost of 23 000 jobs throughout Australia.

Newell also claimed that the rate of problem gambling on pokies is less than 1 percent, indicating that this sector was not a significant generator of problem gamblers.

The Productivity Commission has prepared 41 draft recommendations following its probe into the gambling industry in Australia.

Among the proposals are restricting poker machine players to bets of A$1 ($1.26), down from the current maximum of A$10, and a A$20 limit on one machine at a time.

The commission has also suggested a A$200 ATM withdrawal limit on cash machines located nearby.

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