The Victorian Inter-Church Gambling Taskforce is seeking would-be Miss Marples or Sherlock Holmes to visit pokie venues and tell the Taskforce about how the venues are making cash readily available to gamblers.
ATMs were removed from pokie venues on 1 July 2012. There is already evidence it is having a positive impact on reducing problem gambling. Between the start of July and the end of October 2012, the amount gamblers spent on the pokies dropped by $62 million compared to the same period in 2011, a drop of 6.7 per cent. However, the Taskforce is concerned the pokies industry is fighting back, implementing measures to undermine the ATM ban.
“The pokie venues have publicly boasted they are dispensing large amounts of money to gamblers through EFTPOS for the purposes of gambling, when it is in the venue’s power to limit the amount of money that can be withdrawn from EFTPOS,” Dr Mark Zirnsak, chair of the Taskforce said.
“Such actions will facilitate problem gambling by allowing ready access to cash with little staff interaction. Many people with gambling problems report they will reduce the amount of money they are willing to lose if they think staff know how much they are losing.
“We need church members willing to visit local pokie venues and tell us what the venues are now doing to make cash available to gamblers. This information is vital to putting pressure on the government to counter any pokie industry attempts to undermine the reduction in problem gambling in venues.”
The Taskforce has developed a checklist to identify which pokies venues are actively seeking to undermine the ATM ban and not limit gamblers’ access to ready cash. For a copy of the checklist call (03) 9251 5271 or e-mail email@example.com.