40% of the revenue that goes through these machines can be attributed to the problem gamblers. The harm this causes the community is enormous. As money is taken out of family budgets the social costs add up, and are estimated at $4.7b per year.
The Greens’ policy of limiting bets to $1 is a simple reform that won’t affect most players, but will help problem gamblers limit their losses. This commonsense change will bring poker machines back into line with other forms of recreational activity, and will do so over a timeframe that is realistic, affordable and fair to industry.
Under the Greens pokies reform plan, all Australian poker machines will have the following limitations:
• A maximum bet limit of $1 per spin. Given that 88% of recreational gamblers already spend less than $1 per spin when playing pokies, this policy will not affect the average punter playing the pokies for an hour or two on a night out.
• A load up limit of $20. Limiting the amount of money that can be loaded into a machine at any one time will not affect recreational gamblers but will slow problem gamblers down.
• Jackpots of no more than $500. Limiting jackpots reduces the volatility of the machines and therefore their addictiveness.
• A staged introduction to 2017. To give the industry time to adjust, all new machines must support bet and jackpot limits by 2013, with the limits enforced by 2017.