The Australian Labor Party has announced plans to change their stance on new regulations for gambling machines across the country. The opposition party has watered down their planned changes to Australian gambling laws, a move that has not gone down well.
Despite plans for new online casinos in Australia – as the country tries to cash in on an ever growing Asian market – there had been calls for limits on machines and slot parlors. This change in direction by the opposition has led to calls from church groups that both political parties lack the moral strength to protect gamblers in the country.
Kevin Andrews, the Social Services Minister, outlined the law changes, which included abolition of the National Gambling Regulator, supervisory and gaming machine regulation levies, the automatic teller machine withdrawal limit, the trial on mandatory pre-commitment technology and dynamic warning provisions.
Andrews explained that the abovementioned measures will be removed due to overlap with other state regulations. On the other hand, Tim Costello, the chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, accused both parties of falling under the industry pressure.
He commented that he has communicated with Jenny Macklin, a Labor MP and former community services minister, and added: “I believe that Jenny Macklin is in deep, deep distress about this but she has been rolled.”
Macklin responded in parliament that problem gambling was “a very real and very serious issue in this country” and commented on the 2012 measures by saying: “These were meaningful reforms aimed at tackling problem gambling.”
With UK bookmaker Ladbrokes recently introducing a new online sportsbook in Australia, as well as many new casino plans across the country, this is an interesting time for Australian gamblers. Whether the final decision will be positive or not remains to be seen, but at least the important players are now moving forward.