What’s next for problem gamblers?

malcolm-battersby-webTrials of electronic card systems that self-limit the time and money a gambler can spend on pokie machines have shown some promising preliminary results, but fundamental issues would need to be resolved before they could be introduced, according to the director of the Flinders Centre for Gambling Research, Professor Malcolm Battersby.

Professor Battersby (pictured) chaired a Southgate Policy Club Q&A on Gambling, at Flinders University Victoria Square  on Tuesday, March 15. The panel included no-pokies campaigner Senator Nick Xenophon, SA’s Minister for Gambling, the Hon Bernard Finnigan, and Australian Hotels Association (SA) General Manager Mr Ian Horne.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber opened the Policy Club discussion.

As well as discussing broader aspects around the prevention of gambling problems at a population and public health level, the panel canvassed specific issues such as so-called pre-commitment technology.

Professor Battersby said there are basic questions to be answered about the purpose, effectiveness and viability of a card system for gamblers.

“Would it be used, for example, as a mandatory consumer protection device, or would it be targeted at problem gamblers? And how would limits be set and regulated?”

The panel also included  Ms Sue Pinkerton,  a former pokies addict who is now a problem gambling research consultant, researcher Dr Charles Livingstone of Monash University, and Mr Mark Henley, of Uniting Care Wesley Adelaide and member of SA Responsible Gambling Working Party.

The Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders runs the Southgate Policy Club to address hot topics of interest to academics, policy makers and practitioners in government and not-for-profit sectors.

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