Industry welcomes trial

Roger Hong, Manager, Evans Head Bowling Club Photo Scott Harlum /Rivertown Times
Roger Hong, Manager, Evans Head Bowling Club Photo Scott Harlum /Rivertown Times Scott Harlum

THE manager of the Evans Head Bowling Club has welcomed the Federal Government's decision to back down on the planned poker machine reforms.

The Government walked away from a deal with independent MP Andrew Wilkie to introduce a system of mandatory pre-commitment for poker machine gamblers by the end of 2014.

Roger Hong said the backdown was good news because the system of mandatory pre-commitment for poker machines in the form it was proposed would not have worked.

The Government instead announced a one-year trial in the ACT to start in February next year.

"It was good news. I think they finally saw that mandatory pre-commitment in its proposed form would never work," Mr Hong said.

"It was totally unacceptable and it was bad policy she agreed to."

Mr Hong said the industry welcomed the trial of mandatory pre-commitment in the ACT.

"What it will show up is how mandatory pre-commitment will work or whether it won't work and what needs to be done to address the requirements of problem gamblers," he said.

"The proposed legislation by Wilkie we never ever agreed to because it was imposed without being trialled or any evidence.

"Once the evidence comes to light whether mandatory pre-commitment does or doesn't work they will be able to come up with policies that address problem gambling."

Mr Hong said the clubs industry was keen to see reforms to address problem gambling, however he said any reforms needed to be based on evidence.

"It should be evidence-based and should not be allowed to destroy the clubs, and that is what would have happened under Wilkie's proposed legislation," he said.

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