Many Australian states are working to curb the country’s gambling problem. Such is the case with South Australia, which ushered in the New Year by reducing maximum casino slots bets from $10 to $5.
As motivation for casinos to comply, any establishment that doesn’t reduce their bets will have their slots floor shut down.
This initiative is part of reforms to the Gaming Machines Act, which officials felt needed to be changed to meet the country’s growing gambling dilemma.
“By reducing the maximum bet limit, we hope to reduce the amount problem gamblers can lose while they are gambling,” said Minister Zoe Bettison.
Australians bet more than any other country per capita, with the average adult spending A$1,400 per year on gambling. Many of these losses come through slots (a.k.a. pokies), which has prompted South Australia to take action.
With approximately 4% of Australians considered problem gamblers — higher than the statistical average of 2% — it’s clear that South Australia is taking some positive steps to rectifying this situation.
But some, including Senator Nick Xenophon, believe that the steps must go further. Xenophon is a fan of further reducing slots betting limits to $1.
Mark Henley from Uniting Communities agrees with the senator, citing that slot machines allow players to perform up to 20 spins per minute. Henley believes that at this rate, where players can bet $100 per minute, $5 limits just won’t cut it.
Another measure that Australia is taking includes reforming the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act. This measure is designed to push out offshore gaming sites and further limit the country’s gambling.
So far, 888 Holdings have announced that they’re leaving the country, while other major operators like PokerStars are expected to follow suit. Any company that doesn’t comply with the amended Interactive Gambling Act will be subject to a A$6.75 million daily fine.