New Policy to Reduce Poker Machines Harm Backed by Northern Beaches Council

A plan aimed at reducing the number of poker machines, also known as pokies, at local venues has been backed by the Northern Beaches Council. The local government area, however, decided not to support a contentious clause that would provide it with the opportunity to suspend the machines at venues situated on the area’s land.

The policy which seeks changes to be made in the area’s policy was passed with 8-6 votes at the council meeting which took place yesterday night.

Joy Van Duinen, the mother of a gambling addict who committed suicide a few months ago, was also present at the meeting, to give testimony and share her experience with problem gambling. Ms. Van Duinen explained that before her son’s death, she was actually unaware of the fact that gambling could be devastating to people’s lives and did not know how many people were affected by that problem. She shared that she was also stunned by the the amount of money spent on the harmful habit.

She further noted that her son, the 45-year-old Gary Van Duinen, did not receive any support from the club where he used to gamble but encouragement to keep on with his gambling.

The mother of the sadly passed gambling addict called for the councillors to give the green light to the changes included in the proposed measure. The latter included the establishment of further restrictions to the ATM cash-outs’ amount that could be made, making some reductions in the playtime on the controversial poker machines or at least each hit of the button, putting some restrictions on the amount of time for which people are allowed to play, as well as making certain alterations to laws allowing self-exclusion to be initiated by the gambler only in order to allow family members or a third party also make exclusions.

Unusual Collaboration of Liberals and Greens Pushes the Policy

The above-mentioned policy was pushed by Pat Daley, a Liberal councillor, and Natalie Warren, a Greens councillor in a somehow unusual collaboration. In addition, the move towards setting more restrictive rules to dangerous poker machines makes the Northern Beaches Council the second council to unveil a special policy aimed at minimising the harm inflicted by pokies on the territory of Australia.

One of the councillors who unveiled the new policy, Pat Daley, called the move a great milestone for the local government. He was ready to drop the controversial clause under which poker machines would be able to be officially suspended in venues which are run under lease contracts with the Northern Beaches Council so that the measure is passed by the competent authorities.

“We want to work very closely with the pubs and clubs, not against them, and incorporated into this policy is ongoing consultation and regular meetings.” – Pat Daley, Liberal councillor

According to one of the New South Wales (NSW) campaigners with the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Kate Da Costa, it is not the clubs themselves, but the business model which creates the problem. According to Ms. Da Costa, it is possible to have a working club industry with no poker machines.

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Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
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