One day out from the NSW state election, Wesley Mission continues to challenge both the major parties to improve their gambling reform policies, demanding real change in the next term of Parliament. A YouGov survey, commissioned by Wesley Mission on NSW gambling attitudes, reveals evidence of true inter-generational concern across several gambling reform issues.
Wesley Mission CEO Rev Stu Cameron says the survey gives clear evidence from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, that the people of NSW want to see the next Government implement essential reforms to prevent gambling harm.
“The major parties have committed to some poker machine reforms, but in light of community appetite and need, we want them to deliver on even more meaningful change,” says Cameron. “The survey clearly demonstrates widespread support for genuine reforms and presents to all sides of politics a clear mandate for change.”
“This survey is the first to ask NSW adults their views on poker machine gambling time limits and for support demonstrating the source of gambling funds are legal,” adds Cameron. “We also believe it is the first survey of NSW adults asking what they believe gambling harm to be. These results could help guide future public health education campaigns around gambling harm.”
76% of adults in NSW support the introduction of cashless gambling cards, which will limit how much money can be lost on poker machines each day and help to stop money laundering.
Twice as many people support default dollar loss limits as do not (47% vs 19%), if cashless gambling cards are mandatory in NSW, while 67% agree people wishing to increase their annual loss limits on cashless gambling cards, must demonstrate their money does not come from illegal sources.
When asked what harms are most likely caused by gambling, NSW adults listed financial stress in their top six (86%), followed by relationship difficulties (74%); loss of the family home (63%); poor mental health (59%); family violence (59%) and risk of homelessness (54%).
“In 2022, people in NSW lost $8 billion to poker machines. It is the highest rate of loss, per person, anywhere in the world,” says Cameron. “Wesley Mission knows all too well the impact of gambling harm in NSW. We see the immense hardship faced by individuals and families affected by problem gambling and the ripple effect of gambling harm across communities.”
“We are committed to working with whoever forms government after this weekend’s election, ensuring the overwhelming community expectation around genuine gambling reform is met in the next term of parliament. While the Coalition’s commitment to introducing a cashless gaming card is welcome, the reality is that currently both major party’s policies are don’t go far enough.”
Together, we can act to prevent and reduce gambling harm.
- Implement universal cashless gambling with harm reduction measures built in.
- Power down poker machines after midnight.
- Fund an independent State-wide self-exclusion register.
- Let communities have a say.
- Greater transparency in NSW – publish venue data.
Research company YouGov surveyed 1045 NSW adults from March 2-7, 2023.
Wesley Mission provides practical care and support for more than 130,000 people annually in NSW and across Australia, including help for people experiencing homelessness, local community action groups preventing suicide, and gambling and financial counselling among more than 120 programs. www.wesleymission.org.au
Rev Stu Cameron is available for interview.