It seems like everyone is jumping on the anti-pokie reform bandwagon lately. From politicians to community groups, no one seems to believe that Andrew Wilkie’s pokie reform scheme is an effective solution to curbing Australia’s problem gambling rates. Now, Father Chris Riley, a local priest, has joined the fight, claiming that mandatory precommitment is a bad idea.
Father Riley has collaborated with ClubsAustralia, working with the group to produce anti-reform flyers that will be sent to 2 million homes across the country. In the flyers, he proclaims that Andrew Wilke’s plan for poker machine reform will not help problem gamblers while it strips funding from local charities.
When it comes to charities, Father Riley certainly knows a thing or two. His youth charity, Youth Off the Street, has received over $3.5 million in funding from poker machines and other gambling resources. Precommitment will prevent the charity from operating at its full potential, robbing troubled youth of a valuable experience that could help get their lives on track.
“As an organisation working with marginalised and disadvantaged people throughout Australia, we are all too aware that problem gambling is alive and well in our community,” Riley says.
Although he sees the effects of problem gambling every day, he also knows that there are better solutions to dealing with the issue. He does not believe that Wilke’s precommitment scheme will do anything to help marginalized groups across the country.