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Pressure grows in New South Wales on gambling machines

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New South Wales in Australia isn’t the best place to be playing gambling machines as the pressure is on to reduce the number of them in the state. In fact, their legislative body would love it if they could ban them altogether.

The Northern Beaches Council has drawn up a harm and management strategy and  now approved a plan to reduce the number of the machines in the state. They now want the state government to follow. Their latest meeting discussed the measure and passed the vote 8-6. They are the second municipality to adopt this policy towards gambling machines.

The council discussed the matter after the suicide of Gary Van Duinen, who according to his parents was addicted to gambling. His mother, Joy Van Duinen, has been pushing for changes to be made and these would include the amount of time players can spend on the machines and allowing family members to self-exclude relatives.

A Real Milestone

Northern Beaches Councillor, Pat Daley, called the decision a “real milestone for local government” but stressed that the council want to work “very closely” with pubs and clubs “not against them.” Ongoing consultation and regular meetings are planned.

The director of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Tim Costello, sees the policy change as a huge step towards controlling gambling problems. He wants to see others in New South Wales introduce similar policies. He is highly critical of the state’s government, believing it has “capitulated to the gambling industry for the past eight years.”  Now he wants Premier Gladys Berejiklian to promise she won’t sign another four-year memorandum of understanding with Clubs NSW. This is referring to an agreement that was signed before the latest state election, which would see existing gaming machine operating conditions retained, but with rigorous assessment including cost-benefit analysis and consultation.

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