The Salvation Army believes there are too many gambling machines in poor areas.
In response to the New South Wales government inquiry into gambling, the Salvation Army has offered its view on the problem by saying that there are a lot of different issues the Government needs to look at, in terms on changing Australian gambling laws.
Gerard Byrne, coordinator of Problem Gambling Services at the Salvation Army, believes government officials should consider regulating the density of machines in certain locations. Australian poker rooms located in areas with high unemployment are the root of many problems, he says.
“High volumes of poker machines in areas where we have high unemployment, high public housing, and high levels of people dependent upon government benefits is where we see the greatest harm,” he explained.
Prevention through education
As for preventing gambling addiction, the Salvos believe education is the key. “We have this culture where gambling is part of our national fiber in much the same way that alcohol has been for some time. School-based alcohol and drug programs to equip people to make healthier decisions are working and we’d certainly like to see that with gambling,” Byrne added.
The New South Wales inquiry was launched last month and aims to examine the impact of gambling on the local population. Submissions close on March 7 and a full report will be released in October.