Australian anti-gambling politician Senator Nick Xenophone has won himself a truckload of publicity in the media Downunder this weekend with his thoughts on banning free iPhone apps related to gambling.
The senator feels that such applications are irresponsible and should be outlawed, claiming that numerous slot machine applications, some backed by gaming giants like Harrah's Entertainment, can be downloaded for free and are identical in payouts and features to machines in casinos.
"It's irresponsible to allow these applications in the hands of children," Xenophon told Australian Associated Press. "We already have a big enough gambling problem in this country and there is no doubt this will fuel gambling addiction.
"Kids can become poker machines experts years before they are legally allowed to set eyes on a real machine."
AAP points out that some of the applications are recommended for 12-year-olds and upwards, while others offer no minimum age suggestions.
"The use of money, albeit fantasy, drills home a false impression that poker machines can be a source of money or income," Senator Xenophon told the news service. "Having a recommended age description of 12 is totally inadequate. This is a training application for kids to lose real money when they turn 18."
Xenophone intends doing something about the situation, and plans to raise the issue in Parliament and call on the federal government to hold an enquiry and take action.
"There needs to be a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling laws because otherwise we will see a new wave of problem gamblers as soon as these kids turn 18," Senator Xenophon said.
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