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Push to remove EFTPOS Machines from Gambling Venues

Radio Broadcast

John Darley, Independent MLC (5AA 11.07-11.13)

(Byner: We know that the business of gambling for a select group of people is a real problem ... it can wreck lives ... a number of things have been put in place in order to try and help people ... but most people who use poker machines do not have an issue ... personally I do not have an issue ... but there is a push to remove EFTPOS from poker machine venues with the thinking ... that somehow this will ... lower problem gambling. Now if you’re in that space and you use the pokies ... do you believe ... that would do anything, really? ... the Government, both Labor and now Liberal are relying on a lot of revenue from gambling. It fills a multibillion dollar hole and as it’s turned out it seems that the new ... Marshall Government are not going to take any notice of this crossbencher who is supported by SA-BEST and ... The Greens and that’s John Darley ... so you must have suspected that neither side would vote for this as in Liberal or Labor?) Oh absolutely ... this is the third time I’ve put up this bill and the reason I suggested this bill last week was that we received a letter from a person who had been to Perth and ... spends money on the pokies and there they don’t have EFTPOS machines in the gambling venue. In fact ... poker machines are only allowed in the casino ... he came back here and he relayed his experience here where he went to a particular gambling venue and he ... was able to withdraw $710 out of EFTPOS machines and wasted the whole lot. I guess the whole problem is this, that when the Government introduced these things ... some time ago and I must admit the Productivity Commission has recommended that they shouldn’t be in gaming machine rooms ... or close to them and that was followed up by the Centre for Economic Studies, Michael O’Neil’s outfit who said it’s a mad idea ... our constituent that wrote to me last week said that he went to this particular gambling venue ... he made a number of withdrawals, up to $710 and lost the lot. The Government when they introduced the EFTPOS machines said ... there are some safeguards here ... that a ... staff member, if someone went to a staff member and wanted to withdraw money from an EFTPOS machine, it would give the staff member an opportunity to question the person about the withdrawal and offer information about problem gambling ... we know that people can just go straight to the EFTPOS machine. On this particular occasion the staff member told this person ... you can make a withdrawal over the counter via EFTPOS and you don’t even have to pay a transaction fee. So obviously the protection measures were not working in that area and it would seem to me that the best thing that could happen in South Australia if machines are not going to be withdrawn from the gambling venues, well at least there should be some guaranteed training that’s given to staff members if they know a person in a particular predicament taking out a lot of money from EFTPOS machines that they could actually just warn them about it. (Byner: So ... is the Government going to do anything?) No, on two former occasions they didn’t and my tip is they won’t this time. (Byner: Alright, John thank you for joining us ... do you reckon that removing EFTPOS further away, even a reasonable distance from a gaming area ... would make any difference to problem gamblers? What do you think? ... Never get in the way of a Government and its revenue stream ... gaming revenue is one of the big, big inputs that pay for all sorts of stuff from the Treasury coffin. It’s a coffin because when we have the next budget, it’ll probably keel over ... apparently it’s going to be very tough. I just think that before the budget is delivered, South Australians ought to be told exactly the state of each department ... the monies that have been suggested ... some time back we were telling you that the RAH ... is overspent by $200, it’s now over three ... so we’ll watch with some interest ... )

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