It’s no secret that the legislative body of New South Wales (NSW) isn’t exactly a huge fan of gambling. There has been a push to reduce the amount of gambling machines, or ban them completely, and the push just found more support. The Northern Beaches Council has approved a plan to reduce the number of machines, and is now calling on the NSW government to do the same.
The council met last Tuesday and discussed a measure that would see a reduction in the gambling activity. Council members put the idea to a vote, where it passed 8-6. The Northern Beaches is now the second municipality to adopt such a policy.
The measure was introduced following the suicide of Gary Van Duinen. His death, according to his parents, was due to his gambling addiction. Gary’s moth, Joy Van Duinen, led the push for the changes, which will include restricting the amount of money that can be withdrawn from ATMs, reducing playtime on gambling machines every time a button is pressed and changes to self-exclusion laws to allow a family member—not just the gambler—opt out of gambling.
Northern Beaches Councilor Pat Daley stated, “This is a real milestone for local government. We want to work very closely with the pubs and clubs, not against them, and incorporated into this policy is ongoing consultation and regular meetings.”
The director of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Tim Costello, said that the policy change is a huge step forward into controlling gambling problems. He wants to see others in NSW adopt similar policies in their jurisdictions. Costello added, “The NSW coalition government has capitulated to the gambling industry for the past eight years and now is the time for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to promise she won’t sign another four-year memorandum of understanding with Clubs NSW.”
Before the latest state election, NSW Liberals, NSW Nationals and Clubs NSW signed an agreement that the government would “retain existing gaming machine operating conditions, with proposed changes subject to a rigorous assessment including cost-benefit analysis and consultation.”
It would now appear that those proposed changes are coming sooner rather than later.