The Uniting Church WA calls on the Western Australian Government to ban all inducements that encourage people to gamble and to legislate a duty of care for gambling businesses to allow them to be prosecuted for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent harm from gambling.
The Church further calls on the Australian Government to place a ban on all gambling advertising and to ban the use of credit cards and digital wallets for online gambling. The calls were made at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Synod of WA, from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 September, where more than 120 Uniting Church members from around Western Australia came together to discuss issues of importance in the life of the church and the wider community.
For many Western Australians, buying a lottery ticket is a common activity and we’ve been protected from many of the worst harms of gambling due to Electronic Gaming Machines being restricted within the State’s single casino. However, the impacts of gambling are increasing rapidly in WA through the growing presence of online gambling.
Susy Thomas, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, said the church was calling on the Government to keep pace with changes in the nature of gambling to make sure that our hard-won protections are not eroded.
“Western Australians have been buffered from the pervasive impacts of gambling seen elsewhere in Australia, until now,” said Mrs Thomas.
“We all now effectively have pokie machines in our pockets. People are already getting caught in dangerous debt spirals due to the under-regulation of gambling companies operating online.”
The Royal Commission into the Perth Casino made numerous recommendations to better protect people from gambling-related harm. The church encourages the urgent implementation of harm reduction measures, but fears that they only apply within the walls of the casino.
Mrs Thomas, “The Royal Commission recommendations must inspire similar harm prevention measures to protect people in the online space. People can now gamble anywhere, anytime on their phones and sadly, the research shows that increased gambling is associated with an increased prevalence of other harms including domestic violence and suicide.”
For further information contact:
Geoff Bice, Executive Officer: Social Justice, Uniting Church WA on (08) 9260 9800.