Government attitude to gambling “concerning”


The Anglican Church has accused the Queensland Government of fuelling gambling addiction.

The Church says policy changes are simply a way to increase gambling revenue.

Eliza Buzacott-Speer reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Recent changes to gambling policy have been criticised in a stinging report released today by the Anglican Church.

The changes were presented as a solution to the administrative burden on electronic gaming machine operators in Queensland.

But the report concludes the changes reduce harm minimisation policies and instead focus primarily on measures likely to increase gambling revenue.

Dr Charles Livingstone, Report author: “I think the government needs to look very carefully at the suite of harm minimisation measures which have been very successful in Queensland up to this point.”

Dr Livingstone says the number of problem gamblers has gone down because of these measures, but he expects numbers to rise now they’ve been rolled back.

The report also alleges that large operators will benefit at the expense of smaller clubs and hotels, which is likely to transform large clubs into powerful lobbyists.

The Anglican Church says this is concerning.

Peter Catt, Social Responsibilities Committee chair: “We spend a lot of time counselling people as a result of problem gambling, and we see families that are destroyed by gambling and communities that are torn apart.”

The government is yet to respond.

John Paul Langbroek, Employment Minister: “I haven’t seen that report either and that’s actually something that’s in the portfolio of the Attorney-General so I’d ask you to speak to him about that.”

A representative for the Attorney-General says the Government isn’t in a position to comment as the report hadn’t yet been read.

Eliza Buzacott-Speer, QUT News.