South Australia Cuts Slots Maximum Bet to $5

The New Year saw the maximum allowed bet on all of South Australia’s poker machines cut in half from $10 to $5, and any establishment not complying with the directive will have their machines shut off. The decision was made following reforms made to the Gaming Machines Act, which acknowledges that while gambling was a popular pastime amongst Australian, far too many people subsequently develop gambling problems. Commenting on the development, Communities Minister Zoe Bettison stated:
“By reducing the maximum bet limit, we hope to reduce the amount problem gamblers can lose while they are gambling.”
Australians are the world’s biggest gamblers per capita, losing an average of A$1,380 each per year, most of which goes on slot machines, known as pokies. Furthermore in the country of 23 million people, around 400,000 people are believed to be problem gamblers. Needless to say, the situation has been aggravated by the country having 200,000 slot machines, or around 20% of the world’s supply.
Despite the latest attempt to reign in the country’s evident pokie epidemic, many believe that the latest $5 limit does not go far enough, and that it should in fact be reduced to just $1. One such advocate is Senator Nick Xenophon, who says that one of the main challenges still remains to reverse much of the damage already done. Mark Henley from Uniting Communities also concurs, and as he explains pokies can feature more than 20 spins per minute, therefore at a bet limit of $1 it is possible to have a spin rate of $20 per minute, which is still higher than most other recreational activities.
In other pokie related news, a 25 year-old Queensland man recently set fire to 40 machines at the Royal Hotel in Beenleigh, presumably having lost his money playing earlier in the day. Commenting on the story, Charles Livingstone of Monash University, who specializes in gambling research, explained:
“While we have these high powered machines taking lots of people’s money, then these sort of incidents will probably continue. This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the frustration, distress and anxiety that is caused by pokie machines.”

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