The record $450m AUSTRAC fine against Crown Casinos could fund more than a decade of critically lacking gambling harm reduction measures and support services, the chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Carol Bennett, says.
Ms Bennett applauded the fine against Crown for money laundering, arguing it was a watershed moment that highlighted the value of a national regulator with teeth.
The Alliance has called for the establishment of a national gambling regulator in the wake of the appalling governance failures that State regulators have presided over in Casinos across the country.
She said the fine should be used to fund new, greatly needed services to reduce gambling harm rather than go into government coffers.
“This $450 million would fund around ten years of specialist gambling treatment, research, support for people harmed by gambling, policy development and advocacy - including funding for the independent organisations such as the Alliance,” she said. It could also underwrite some sporting clubs and others moving away from gambling sponsorship – just as governments did when tobacco advertising was banned.
“It is damning that governments do not invest in independent harm reduction bodies. This lack of support partly explains why, for many years, there has been no serious challenge to the gambling industry’s cosy relationships with regulators and governments.
This AUSTRAC fine shows how an independent national body that has not been captured by gambling interests can and should take meaningful action to reduce gambling harm.”
The Alliance is a national advocacy organisation which works to prevent and minimise the harm from gambling. Our aim is to remove the shame that surrounds gambling addiction, have the problem treated as a public health issue, and achieve the legislative changes needed to protect our communities. We bring together well over 60 organisations who share the objectives of preventing harm from gambling.
Carol Bennett is available for interview
Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704
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