Latest technology could allow punters to set spending limits

Anti-gambling activists in Australia are calling for pre-paid smart cards to be introduced into gaming venues to reduce problem gambling, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Under the plan, users would nominate a monthly cap on the amount of money they would be prepared to lose.

Anti-gambling activist Tim Costello says gaming operators are deliberately targeting socially-isolated people in Melbourne's outer suburbs, in particular, bored women. "Fifty-three cents in every dollar going through a machine comes from someone who is an addict," he alleged, without producing his sources for this information.

"We certainly know that in the outer suburbs where there are few community centres, public transport is harder to get into the city and to other events, that a social recreational need can often become a quite devastating gambling addiction."

Costello claims that smart cards used in Canada and in several European countries have helped stem the tide of gambling losses.

"[It] overcomes the biggest problem, which is saying I'm only one win away from not having a problem, I'll keep chasing my losses," Costello said.

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