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Australia-Government to ACT on pre-commitment bill

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The Australian government has confirmed it will approve new laws governing slot play in the current session of parliament and introduce mandatory pre-commitment technology as soon as possible.

The government wants to approve three bills by June 28 aimed at reducing negative effects any excessive slot play and then introduce a trial period for pre-commitment technology in the ACT before rolling it out to other states if the field test proves successful.

The proposals want any slot machines made after 2013 must be able to support pre-commitment by December 31, 2016, and link up to a state-linked pre-commitment system. By February 2013, all slot venues outside of casinos will also have limits on their ATMs so customers can only draw out A$240 a day. By 2016 the government wants to see cost-of-play displays on slots, electronic warnings and extra problem gambling advisers.

Echo Entertainment, which owns the Jupiter-branded casinos and hotels in Townsville and the Gold Coast, as well as the Treasury Casino and hotel in Brisbane, voluntarily rolled out the technology in February this year.

Around 18 per cent of the Queensland’s 44,000 poker machines, equating to 7,800 slots, already have voluntary pre-commitment technology.

The minister responsible for gaming Paul Lucas, said: “Measures such as voluntary pre-commitment work. That’s why we continue to support voluntary pre-commitment but won’t be supporting moves for mandatory pre-commitment until more research is done into its effectiveness.”

However, South Australia Senator Nick Xenophon has said: “Voluntary pre-commitment is about as effective as voluntary speed limits and voluntary drink driving laws. It doesn’t work and those who need it the most won’t do it. So this is a case of more window dressing, more smoke and mirrors, surrounding the real issue.”

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