Through its valuable first contribution in 2017 of $50,000 to the Alliance for Gambling Reform, the Collier Charitable Fund has laid the foundation stone for national reforms to tackle the gambling industry in Australia.
Australians lose $23 billion every year to gambling. Like tobacco, poker machines are addictive, legal and have massive public health impacts. Gambling cases twice as much harm to the health of Australians as diabetes, bipolar disorder and cannabis dependence combined.
The Alliance for Gambling has brought together over 60 local governments, churches and community groups to raise awareness of the problem, and the solutions. With spokespeople like Tim Costello, we’ve secured widespread media coverage. We’ve supported dozens of community events and film screenings. We’ve met with Mayors, MP’s, AFL presidents, CEO’s and investors to make the case for why they should get behind industry reforms.
At the end of our first year, our efforts resulted in a huge win. Coles owns hundreds of poker machines in their pubs, and in December they announced that they would voluntarily lower the maximum bet on their 300 machines to $1. This is a huge step forwards – a tenfold reduction in the devastating losses caused by poker machines that currently take $1,200 every hour.
$1 maximum bets are a gigantic step forward because it demonstrates to other poker machine operators, such AFL clubs, RSL clubs and Woolworths, what leadership looks like. For people addicted to these machines, this change can mean the difference between losing the family home or the week's wages. Neither are good, but the status quo is devastating.
A $1 maximum bet is no silver bullet, but it is a huge step forward, that we’ll follow with more and more steps towards reducing the damage done by poker machines designed to addict.
The Alliance is a new organisation with decades of leadership and experience in people like Tim Costello, Dr Charles Livingstone and Allison Keogh. The early stage support from the Collier Charitable Fund truly is crucial to improving the lives of the 500,000 Australians hit hard by poker machines.
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