A body representing licensed gambling club owners wants a new law giving FAMILIES the power to turn in problem gamers.

Under the proposed rules, gambling regulators would HAVE to intervene with blanket bans and counselling on the request of any family member.

A pilot program in South Australia has already handled 150 complaints and taken formal action in 10 cases.

Estimates

The measure is one of several proposed by Clubs Australia — a body representing registered clubs — which rely heavily on poker-machine revenue.

It is estimated 2 per cent of all gamblers in Australia have a problem with gambling.

Clubs Australia president Peter Newell admitted family intervention could have negative repercussions for some people but, overall, it was a good measure.

“If a 15-year-old went and asked for help for a parent figure, what might happen to this kid when he got home?” Mr Newell told the National Press Club in Canberra.

“There are circumstances like that — and I admit this is not perfect — but we feel it is still an opportunity that would give families an opportunity to be heard.”

Credit cards

Other measures would include a ban on credit cards, which are used to pay for many online gambling sites, as well as tighter regulation of internet and phone gambling.

Schools would also be ordered to teach money skills.

But removing slot machines — known as “pokies” –  was not a viable option for Australia’s 4,000 clubs, Mr Newell said.

“Clubs don’t have their heads stuck in the sand when it comes to gambling and its consequences,” he said “but nor are we part of some Machiavellian plot to undermine society.”

Pokies were a “legitimate form of entertainment” and the Government needed a different approach to problem gambling.






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