Australia set to introduce compulsory spending limits for slots

  • A new research paper proposes introduction of preset loss limits on slots located in land-based casinos across Australia
  • The idea has a strong support from the public, as compulsive gambling is one of the big problems Down Under

Pokies, how slots as are known in a land Down Under, are one of the leading forms of entertainment in Australia.

However, as we’re all aware, casino games can easily turn into more than just innocent fun, and problem gambling is one of the big issues in the country.

For that reason, Australia is looking into a possibility of introducing compulsory spending limits for pokies across the country, looking to prevent players from over-extending.

Optional systems prove inefficient

This new proposal came from the Australian Gambling Research Center (AGCR) in a form of research paper submitted to the government for review.

The paper suggests the introduction of compulsory spending limits because previous attempts that were optional proved completely inefficient.

Namely, three of Australia’s states have tried with the voluntary system of setting the limits, and the results were far from expected.

For example, in Victoria, the most densely populated Aussie state, only 1% of total players decided to use it back in 2015.

Additionally, the system was ineffective because players could simply remove their identification cards from the machine and continue playing without any limits.

Stricter control required

With all this information available, the AGCR proposes a much stricter system, whereby all players would have to set their own wagering limits and they wouldn’t be able to play at all if their player’s card weren’t inserted.

Players would have a freedom to determine their own loss limits, but once they do, they’d have to stick with them. Also, this would offer much better insights into gambling habits of Aussies.

One of the biggest advantages of this system would be helping problem gamblers keep their problems in check. Those who find it hard to control themselves could simply set a limit they are comfortable with and once they do, they wouldn’t be able to go over the predetermined number.

Conflict of interests

For land-based casinos, any kind of compulsory spending limit is clearly a bad thing. It is no secret that casinos rake in most of their profits exactly from the players who have problems keeping their gambling habits at bay.

Back in 2010, when compulsive gambling started to become a real problem Down Under, a similar loss-limit scheme was suggested, but casinos showed very little interest in it.

At the same time, many Aussies are in favor of this idea. In Australia, a big number of people felt the sting of problem gambling, leading them into debt and causing all sorts of other problems, private and professional alike.

These people, as well as many others, are convinced that a compulsory loss limit would stop the problem from escalating beyond their control.

The AGCR is adamant in their requests that the government needs to recognize the problem and they insist the introduction of the loss-limit system is absolutely necessary.

With a strong support from the public, the organization might get what they’re asking for, despite all casinos in the country being less than thrilled about the prospects of such regulation.

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