Over the course of the past few years, we have seen plenty of harm minimisation measures introduced to help at-risk pokie players and problem gamblers reduce their spending on gaming machines. A new study has delved into the issue to determine whether or not these measures have been successful, and findings indicate that they have made a difference.
According to ABC News, the study has found that pokie clubs have seen their gaming profits decline by up to $45 million. This equals a total savings of $8600 for at-risk gamblers. While clubs owners may be disappointed in the loss of revenue, harm minimisation has helped players gamble more responsibly and spend less money. The first major harm minimisation measure that was introduced banned ATMs from gaming venues.
This meant that players would have to leave the venue in order to take out more cash to spend on pokies. It was shown to be effective, as it removed players from the building to give them time to think about their spending, and many players would decide to stop gambling for the day. The other measure restricted poker machines from paying out any more than $1000 in cash.
This would prevent players from pouring large winnings back into the games. They would be required to step away from the game to collect their winnings – another effective way of encouraging players to take a break from gambling. At-risk gamblers and moderate players reported a decreased gaming expenditure, demonstrating that these measures have been helpful in curbing their spending.
Problem gamblers reported no decrease in expenditure – but, this is still a positive step, as there has not been a significant increase in problem gambling spending across Tasmania, either. Responsible gambling advocates state that more can be done to reducing gambling spending in the state. While this is true, the results are encouraging, and the current measures are certainly a step in the right direction.