FIELDING’S BILL FLAWED

The Poker Machine Harm Minimisation Bill tabled in Federal Parliament by Senator Steve Fielding is fundamentally flawed, according to the Australasian Gaming Machine Manufacturers Association (“AGMMA”). The Bill seeks to impose arbitrary limits on Australia’s gaming machines.

“Senator Fielding is misinformed. The Bill relies on data which is either very old, or very wrong” said AGMMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Ross Ferrar.

“We are disappointed that Senator Fielding has chosen to attack 2,200 Australians who are employed by gaming machine manufacturing companies; and many times that number of people working in the Hospitality Industry whose income relies on the operation of gaming machines. Had he consulted with any hospitality industry representatives, he would have found a very different story to the one he is spruiking.

“For example, the Bill relies on decade­old estimates of the extent of problem gambling in the late 1990s. Today’s picture is very different as a result of ongoing dialogue and active measures implemented by hospitality venues, manufacturers and regulators with input from a range of interested parties.

“Every aspect of gaming machines is stringently controlled. Their design, development, supply, installation and operation are all comprehensively monitored by State government regulatory authorities under strict legislation. There’s nothing about any gaming machine which isn’t known, approved and overseen by government regulators.

“Australia’s gaming machines are the world’s slowest, have some of the world’s lowest betting limits and are subject to the world’s most rigorous controls and regulation.

“We invite Senator Fielding to consult with manufacturers and to meet some of the people he is attacking. He will find that his views about gaming machines are mistaken.

“Senator Fielding should seek accurate information by consulting with industry and by requesting updated and credible data. He could start by asking for the 1999 estimates to be reviewed.”