ACT Greens Member, Shane Rattenbury, championed an amendment to the Gaming Machine Act which will prevent the Gambling and Racing Commissioner from approving machines with audio devices unless the device is specifically for those with a hearing impairment. The bill was unanimously passed by the Legislative Assembly.
“Gaming machine manufactures now make machines with headphones or ‘audio isolation devices’, which are designed to minimise external distractions and keep gamblers focused on the machines for longer,” said Mr Rattenbury.
“The harms caused by poker machines are well documented; they cause not only enormous financial hardship but also contribute to serious issues like family breakdown and property crime. In order to prevent these harms from worsening, the Bill ensures that machines with audio isolation devices will never operate in the ACT.
“This is a good outcome, banning a particularly harmful addition to an already very harmful product.
“Common sense says that plugging people into poker machines to further isolate them from reality and keep them gambling is not acceptable.
“There is no shortage of research and independent experts advocating for better harm minimisation measures for poker machines.
“The Greens remain committed to tackling problem gambling and reducing the harm for people affected by gambling addictions, and for our community,” Mr Rattenbury said.
The new Greens Bill will come into effect immediately.