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Australia may implement pokie smartcards with loss limits

The tenuous hold on political power of the Labor government in Australia has resulted in some interesting political horse trading, with prime ministerial hopeful Julia Gillard striking a deal with Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie last week regarding problem gambling.

In return for Wilkie's support, Gillard has pledged to tackle problem gambling, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Gillard has agreed to pressure the Australian territories into fitting the notorious Australian pokie machines in land establishments with devices that limit player losses.

The deal suggests that under a re-elected Labour government, every poker machine in Australia will eventually be installed with smart cards, allowing players to decide in advance how much they want to spend. Once that limit had been reached, it stops them playing.

The Problem Gambling Foundation in neighbouring New Zealand praised the agreement and the technology this week: "What a fantastic initiative, good on Australia," chief executive Graeme Ramsey said. "This is a real piece of consumer empowerment, as it requires people to set limits before they start."

Ramsey said the technology was very effective in helping problem gamblers stick to a limit, pre-determined by no-one but themselves.

He added that 80% of clients seen at the foundation had problems with pokies. Last year, NZ$889 million was lost by gamblers to poker machines outside casinos - about NZ$2.57 million each day, according to figures from the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.

Officials of the department are watching developments with interest, whilst pointing out that New Zealand does take problem gambling precautions. These include a pop-up feature required on every gaming machine in New Zealand since last year, which offer some benefits of player tracking and a pre-commitment system.

The "player information displays" interrupt every 30 minutes of play, to tell the player how long they have been playing, how much they have spent and their net wins and losses.

Source: InfoPowa News

1 reply • Last post


CL-Ed's picture
Location: Sydney
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6 September 2010 - 12:06am

I'll throw in my 2c here as I am Australian and know what's going on. We just had an election a few weeks ago and neither major party won. So they are both trying to cut deals with the independents and Greens to form a minority government. A couple of independent politicians here have "poker machines" (Aussie name for slots) as their pet issue so they are using it as leverage for their support.

Whether the Labor Party manages to form a government and then follows through on this is still up in the air, so nothing may come of this in the end.

Without knowing the specific details of the smartcards I think the general idea is a good one. And also note that despite what the "click your mouse and lose your house" alarmist brigade would have us believe, players have already been able to do this at responsible online casinos for years.

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