The Gambling Impact Society NSW (GIS), a consumer led health promotion charity, has released a position statement supporting the proposed cashless gambling card in NSW (refer www.gisnsw.org.au). Underpinning this statement is the research work of Dr. Kate Roberts (GIS Executive Officer), who recently completed her doctoral thesis based upon a collaborative research study undertaken with the GIS. Titled ‘Welcome to Clubland: Exploring sociomaterial dimensions of poker-machine gambling harms in community-clubs in New South Wales Australia’.
Approximately $95 billion in cash flows through poker machines in pubs and clubs in NSW each year, making it the gambling capital of Australia. (NSW Crimes Commission, 2022)
In NSW, $23 million is lost every day through pokies in pubs and clubs; in Victoria, the figure is $8.4 million per day, and in Queensland, $9 million. (AGR, 2023), with the social costs of gambling – including adverse financial impacts, emotional and psychological costs, relationship and family impacts, and productivity loss and work impacts estimated in to be 4.7 billion annually (Productivity Commission, 2020).
According to Dr. Roberts’ research, people with lived experience of gambling harms reject the current policy of Responsible Gambling due to its primary focus upon individual pathology and behaviours. “People impacted think the policy doesn’t work and creates further burdens by increasing stigma and victim blaming”. Her research indicates a need for more of a public health focus which includes changes to business models, gambling products and institutional arrangements.
“We need to look beyond individual pathology, towards examining gambling behaviour within the context of manufactured gambling products, designed environments, historical business models and institutional arrangements which co-create gambling harms” (Roberts, 2023)
After 22 years of working with people with lived experience of gambling harms, the Gambling Impact Society NSW supports the proposition for a cashless gambling card, believing it will create a more equitable playing field for consumers. As Dr. Roberts sees it, “A cashless gambling card with appropriate functionality and protections (refer GIS position statement) has considerable merit in providing transactional transparency and reducing the misuse of poker machines for money laundering, whilst at the same time increasing consumer information in real time and consumer protection for people using these products of dangerous consumption”.
“85% of the aggregate harms from gambling in the community, are experienced by those who do not meet the criteria of having a gambling addiction and are considered low risk or moderate risk for problem gambling (Browne et al., 2016). The mandatory use of a cashless card for gambling on poker machines has the potential for not only reducing existing harms but preventing new harms in the community” (Roberts, 2023).
The GIS considers the proposed Cashless Gambling Card has much to recommend it, as a tool to reduce and prevent gambling harms, and prevent negative impacts on individuals, families, and communities.
Dr. Kate Roberts
Gambling Impact Society
0401 370 042