The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council has issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to a policy of harm minimisation with regards to poker machines.
Chief Executive Dr John Falzon said late last year members of the St Vincent de Paul Society welcomed the National Gambling Reform Act 2012 and said it could not come soon enough.
“Our members have given a clear message that these machines continue to devastate families. Mandatory pre-commitment technology and maximum $1 bets are, in our view, measures that are necessary in order to reduce the harm caused by poker machines,” Dr Falzon said.
“As found by the Productivity Commission, gaming machines are the prime source of problem gambling in Australia and the harms from problem gambling include suicide, depression, relationship breakdown, lowered work productivity, job loss, bankruptcy and crime.
The St Vincent de Paul Society National President, Anthony Thornton, urged the Government to think deeply about the harmful effects of problem gambling and to not shy away from its responsibility to minimise this harm by such measures as mandatory pre commitment and the $250 ATM withdrawal limit in poker machine venues.
“We welcome the Government’s commitment but believe that these changes need to be introduced with greater urgency. We base this view on the human suffering we are witnessing each day on the ground,” Mr Thornton said.
The St Vincent de Paul Society is a member organisation of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce http://gamblingreform.org