Slots Research Leads to Call for Australian National Gambling Harm Regulator
The Chief Advocate at the Alliance for Gambling Reform in Australia is calling upon the federal government and the individual states to create a national gambling harm regulator.
The calls come after newly published research revealed that Australians lost more than AU$11.4 billion playing slot machines in just one year. There was a decline of roughly 17% in slot losses in Victoria and New South Wales when compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, these were mainly a result of pandemic closures and other restrictions.
Furthermore, losses grew in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania when compared to 2018/19. In Victoria, slots players lost more than AU$2.2 billion in the 2021/22 financial year with the average Victorian player losing roughly AU$2,800.
The Gambling and Social Determinants Unit at Monash University conducted the research. It included slots and pubs and clubs, but not at casinos. Tom Costello, the Chief Advocate at the Alliance for Gambling Reform, is expecting the losses to continue growing despite the current cost of living crisis and inflation.
It goes up under stress. People literally either get some relief from sitting in the zone in front of the machine, or they have a belief: I’m stuffed anyway, I can’t pay the rent or the mortgage anyway, but the pokies are maybe a shot.
In response, Costello wants a national gambling harm regulator to be established and for it to highlight the financial, social and health consequences of gambling addiction and in particular slot machines. Australia is home to three-quarters of the world’s pub and club slot machines.
The recently formed Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), the state’s gaming watchdog, has recently warned that new laws brought in to try to reduce money laundering and problem gambling at Crown Melbourne could see slots addicts and criminals pushed to playing in pubs and clubs.