The Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce brings together leaders of the major Christian churches in Australia and the heads of their social services arms nationally. The Taskforce is united by a commitment to reduce the very substantive harm caused by poker machine gambling.
The Taskforce has consistently sought reform of the poker machine industry in Australia, calling for:
- the adoption of a national mandatory pre commitment scheme that requires gamblers in all electronic gaming venues to set spending limits on high loss poker machines
- $1 maximum bets on all machines limiting losses to $120 an hour
- reduced access to cash in gambling venues as a measure to reduce the opportunity for unplanned expenditure on gambling
- Improving other consumer protection measures as noted by the Taskforce
Australian churches have a long, proud history of social services provision. Every day the churches and their social services agencies see the destructive impact of poker machine gambling on individuals, families and communities, and we serve people whose lives have or are being damaged by these destructive machines.
We welcome the current, historic opportunity for poker machine reform. This opportunity is the culmination of years of research, policy development and advocacy. Our members are ongoing contributors to the debate, notably through the processes that led to the Productivity Commission reports of 1999 and 2010.
We encourage all politicians of goodwill to implement changes that will help prevent many Australians from developing a damaging addiction to poker machine gambling.
We remain committed to the full suite of reforms outlined above. If this cannot be achieved, we believe the draft legislation currently under consideration is a sufficient first step but should not be regarded as a substitute for further reform.
Membership of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce currently includes:
- Anglican Church of Australia
- Australian Christian Churches (formerly Assemblies of God)
- Baptist Union of Australia
- Catholic Church
- Churches of Christ
- Congregational Federation
- Lutheran Church
- Presbyterian Church
- The Salvation Army
- Uniting Church in Australia
- Anglicare Australia
- Baptist Care Australia
- Catholic Social Services Australia
- The Society of St Vincent de Paul
- UnitingCare Australia
- State based churches gambling taskforces in South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales
Download this statement as a pdf here: Statement on Poker Machine Reform