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Rare opportunity to minimise pokies risk

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia believes the Federal Government has a rare opportunity to address the issue of problem gambling.

Following a meeting of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce held in Canberra today, Chief Executive Dr John Falzon said:

“The St Vincent de Paul Society supports the Gillard Government’s proposals for mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines. This is a sound measure to help minimise the harm especially associated with high intensity machines.

“Rigorous Productivity Commission analysis has found that players lose, on average, $1,200 an hour on these machines.

“Our members have given a clear message that these machines continue to devastate families. We welcome this measure as a potential means of limiting the damage to people and to the community.

“As reported by the Productivity Commission, the social costs of problem gambling include suicide, depression, relationship breakdown, lower work productivity, job losses, bankruptcy and crime,” Dr Falzon said.

The Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce includes the heads of Australian Christian Churches and the heads of their social services agencies nationally, united by a commitment to make poker machine gambling safer.  Find out more at

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