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Bellatrix's avatar

What strategies are in place to try to reduce problem gambling by limiting the use of Electronic Gambling Machines where you are?

Asked by Bellatrix (21146 points ) July 31st, 2011

In Australia there is a huge battle taking place between our federal government and pubs and clubs. Most clubs and pubs here have a range of electronic gaming machines (EGMs)(slot machines/pokie or poker machines/Fruit Machines) available for use by gamblers that bring in revenue for the establishments and produce tax revenue for governments. More than AU$10 billion was spent on gambling through EGMs in 2008/2009 and 80% of problem gamblers use EGMs according to the Australian Productivity Commission (Relationships Australia 2011) Link

Our government is proposing legislation that will force gamblers (using pre-commitment technology within all EG machines) to pre-set a limit on how much they want to spend in that session. They will then not be able to bet more than that amount in that session. The aim is to curb problem gambling.

What initiatives (if any) are in place in your state/country to try to counteract problem gambling and do you think asking gamblers (specifically those who use EGMs) to set a limit before they start gambling will help reduce the level of problem gambling? One of the arguments being put forward against this move is that gamblers will instead place bets on horse or dog racing or will find something else to bet on.

Your thoughts on effective measures to reduce problem gambling and if indeed governments should do anything at all?

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12 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

HS they can’t seem to build Casinos fast enough here in the Chicago area!

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t gamble, so I don’t have an issue at all with trying to reduce the level of gambling in society. This is going to be one heck of a fight here though for the government.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I don’t think we have slot machines in bars over here. You have to go to a casino, with the purpose of it being a day of gambling, in order to do it. I’ve never gambled outside of an office pool or a friendly game of poker at a friends house, though, so what do I know?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t think it is the responsibility of government to “childproof” life for people.

downtide's avatar

I don’t gamble but there are no government initiatives in the UK that I’m aware of, and EGMs are freely available to anyone aged 18 or over. Pretty much every pub or bar has at least one.

Gamblers will gamble, regardless of what facilities are available to do so. If everything was banned they would still get together with friends and a pack of playing cards. As it is, taxes from gambling bring in much-needed revenue, if that disappeared then income tax would rise even more.

john65pennington's avatar

Gamblers are gamblers and that new law will not work. If thier limit has been reached, then what prevents them from going elsewher to gamble again? I believe in the intentions of your law, but I have seen gamblers roll dice on the back porch in a projects area, just to take a chance on winning and feeding their gambling habit.

Gamblers always find a way to attempt to win some fast money.

My state, Tennessee, had forever been the only state without a lottery. Seven states touch and surround Tennessee. Some politicans finally saw the light and figured out that Tennessee money was leaving for other states and their gambling. We now have a lottery and scratch-offs.

wundayatta's avatar

No one really cares here. They have token counseling programs, and I guess they rely on other programs for penniless wives, and social services for the kids.

Nope. Wait. All those programs have been cut, so I guess we don’t have to spend any public dollars on deadbeat wives and kids. Let them go work for themselves. They shouldn’t have chose a father addicted to gambling. If they can’t help themselves, then let them hang out in the streets.

No. Not the streets. It wouldn’t be nice seeing poor, homeless people in the streets. Let’s set up reservations for poor people, so they can go be their shiftless selves out of sight of us worker bees. We need to strengthen vagrancy laws and build more prisons for the folks who have the temerity to be poor due to addictions to gambling.

Yep. That’s the ticket. That’s letting the market work. That’s letting people accept personal responsibility. And as long as the poor people are on reservations, we won’t have to educate them, so that will save more tax dollars. And since they are poor people, lets just get rid of Medicaid. No one cares about poor people. That’s so 60s.

As long as they are poor and stupid, they’ll go and gamble and give back any money they have managed to earn. It’s a great system! You Ozzies are coddling people too much. Problem gamblers are the dregs of society. Let them gamble. The sooner they lose all they have, the sooner we can kick them out of their houses and let more deserving people have them. Well, no one will want them. So we could tear them down and build another gambling establishment.

That’s the ticket!

incendiary_dan's avatar

If they’re going to do anything at all, using such a superficial fix is not the way to go. You don’t reduce gambling by taking away gambling machines any more than you reduce gun violence by taking away guns. People just find another way if the other circumstances don’t change.

Bellatrix's avatar

@incendeairy_dan They aren’t taking them away. I believe, and I am not 100% on the detail yet. Have to go and do more reading and report back, but I believe the individual will enter the club and before they start gambling will decide on what they are prepared to lose. The machines are chipped to allow this to happen. I am presuming there must be some way to link the machines otherwise as has been suggested here, once you are in the zone, you could just go to another club?

I don’t mind the idea because the government isn’t saying “you cannot bet” but rather it is saying make a decision about how much you want to lose and you then can’t lose more than that. If you want to say “I want to lose no more than $200”, I believe you can do that. If you want to say “I can only afford to bet $20” you can make that your limit. I will try to find out more about how this will work.

I just wondered if anything is being done where you all are and it sounds like there aren’t any strategies in place. I see compulsive gambling as a disease. I don’t really care if people want to gamble and can afford it but I think compulsive gambling is a horrible thing and anything that can help people to stop has to be a good thing. Will do more research on the proposal.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Bellatrix That sounds more reasonable, but I don’t know if it gets at the root of why problem gambling occurs. Maybe there isn’t a way for government to address such root causes.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t think that is something a government can address. I was talking to my husband about it though and it seems to me a lot of people who become addicted to using these machines are the elderly or single parents or people who are perhaps lonely and are maybe looking for company? I think our communities are so unconnected often that I guess being in a room with a bunch of machines and people playing them might be better than being at home alone? Will find out more anyway.

Hibernate's avatar

Nothing has been done here and I don’t think this issue will be addressed any time soon because people here don’t have to much to spend. Though your observation about them being lonely it’s true. People start going where others won’t bother mention them because most are focused on the game. At some point they will interact over a coffee or a beer then they realize they have things in common or they can do other things too. But this doesn’t stop them playing the machines. Others just want to cash in big money so they spend without thinking about it.

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