Fanciful claims from Th e Australia Institute

Australia’s gaming machine manufacturers today dismissed claims from The Australia Institute that the cost of mandatory pre-commitment is less than that outlined by industry experts.

“The Australia Institute should check its facts before making false claims” Gaming Technologies Association CEO, Ross Ferrar said.  “It would help everyone if the debate was a sensible one and today’s headline seeking announcement does not help anyone”.

The Gaming Technologies Association’s members supplied almost all of Australia’s existing gaming machines and have unrivalled expertise in terms of the design and supply of gaming machines in Australia and around the world.   These are the people who are responsible for making any changes to the game software in poker machines.

 “The Australia Institute claims that ‘many machines can be reprogrammed en masse’. This is wrong and even the most basic investigation would quickly reveal that every single poker machine must be tested, certified and monitored.  It’s a pity that such an organisation has made public pronouncements without checking the facts first” said Mr Ferrar.

“The Australia Institute should cut out any newspaper columns and check back to see if they were right.  I predict their faces will be red.  Or perhaps, Green because their Executive Director, Richard Denniss was previously Senior Strategic Advisor to Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown.  And a Director, Ben Oquist is currently Senator Bob Brown’s Chief of Staff.”

 “Because all existing Australian games and gaming machines are approved by State regulators, it is not possible to simply adjust a bet limit.  Changing the bet limit and maximum payout requires a complete game change on every machine” Mr Ferrar said.  “Australian gaming machines are quality assured and independently tested prior to submission for approval to operate.”

For a new, technologically advanced gaming machine the cost to change the game will be around $5,000.  However, for the 79% of Australia’s gaming machines that are older than 3 years, the cost will be significantly higher.  

“Where a machine is between 3 and 5 years old, hardware upgrades are needed to support the game software change.  64% of Australia’s machines are older than 5 years.  They will need to be replaced at around $25,000 per machine.