"A community way of life" is the motto and statement for ClubsACT - but like their cousins to the north and south, ClubsVIC and ClubsNSW - the onus seems to be on pokies, profits and the proliferation of problem gambling and the communities they purport to support and encourage are left counting the costs of problem gambling and wondering where it all went wrong.
This advertising campaign above is supposed to make me support and want to help Clubs ACT - but after learning how little these clubs contribute to harm minimisation and tackling problem gambling I realise the answer.
Imagine with me for a second, a Canberra without community clubs...
Canberra is the only jurisdiction in Australia where gaming is still largely operated and managed through community clubs – a privilege that clubs acknowledge carries with it responsibilities.
The latest report from the Australian National University Centre for Gambling Research into problem gambling confirms the ACT as the jurisdiction with the lowest prevalence of problem gambling. The ACT is also the only jurisdiction where poker machines are not permitted in casinos and this could be a very important difference in terms of problem gambling rates because the ACT has the lowest in the nation at 0.4% (0.5% in 2009). This compares to 0.8% in New South Wales, 0.5% in Queensland, 0.6% in South Australia and 1.0% in Victoria – all of whom operate casinos.
HOWEVER - the population of Canberra and the overall demographic is so vastly and dramatically different to the medium represented by the rest of the country that comparative statistics are hardly relevant.
Granted the casinos do not have pokies, but a comment from Greens Senator Shane Rattenbury referring to the proliferation of clubs throughout family areas is a problem in itself. He suggested allowing casinos the pokies and controlling the location and spread of them - which I personally think is a great idea and would definitely have an immediate and positive impact on the communities in question.
Read the full article and see what Mr Rattenbury has to say (within context) by visiting this link here --> Andrew Barrs Additional Pokies for Canberra Casino
Canberra Clubs Vow To Fight On
r Barr said, on Tuesday, if the government allowed poker machines in the "for-profit" casino for the first time it would be "significantly less" than the 500 requested.
(see original article here)
The casino would face a tougher tax regime than clubs, higher community donations, and more stringent harm minimisation rules.
Mr Rattenbury said the Greens did not oppose the casino's bid outright, but did "not want to see companies profiting from the exploitation of problem gamblers".
Opposition gaming spokesman Brendan Smyth said his party opposed any pokies in the casino.
He hit back at Mr Barr's swipe at takeovers by the big clubs saying they had saved many smaller and medium clubs from closure.
"The should be congratulated, not condemned," he said. "He needs to table a list of the clubs he thinks have behaved in a predatory manner or withdraw."
Clubs ACT chief executive Gwyn Rees said Mr Barr was misinformed and the increasing pressures of rates, taxes, licensing changes and diversification restrictions had forced at least seven clubs to close or merge in recent years and the situation would worsen if the casino "wins" its bid for pokies.
The city has a relatively low concentration of pokies, he said, releasing figures for the major centres:
What If We Could Start Over?
Mr Rattenbury said the casino bid was "an opportunity to introduce best practice harm minimisation", such as pre-commitment, where gamblers nominate their spend before beginning, and $1 bets.
He also suggested it might be preferable to have pokies in the casino rather than "peppered through the suburbs", expressing concern that suburban clubs focused on attracting families while also containing significant numbers of poker machines, effectively normalising "gaming in a family environment".
Speaking of $1 maximum bets, it seems our good friend and advocate for a pokie free country Andrew Wilkie is again pushing his agenda for gambling reform and the introduction of a $1 maximum bet - which I for one think will solve 75% of the problems assocaited with problem gambling - and you'd agree if you knew what I know too.
But anyway, I digress - here is the article from May 2nd ( couple of days ago) that provides the latest on Mr Wilkies fight against a corrupt and greedy government.
Andrew Wilkie pushes for $1 limit on pokies
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