The Northern Territory Government must reject applications for 20 more poker machines to be introduced into Alice Springs if it is serious about tackling gambling harm and the concerns of the local community.
The chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Carol Bennett, said she welcomed the modest lowering of the cap on the number of poker machines in Alice Springs.
The NT government today lowered the cap on the number of poker machines to 1,659 (down from 1699) bringing an end to its nine-month moratorium in Alice Springs.
“While we welcome this modest reduction, we are disappointed that it has come with the government’s decision to allow two existing applications that could see 20 more poker machines introduced into Alice Springs,” Ms Bennett said.
“The last thing Alice Springs needs or wants is more poker machines. This is evidenced by the community outrage about applications for more poker machines.”
The Northern Territory has one of the largest per capita concentration of poker machines in Australia.
Ms Bennett said the government must not approve the two existing applications (one from the Todd River Tavern and the other from The Gap View Hotel) for a total of 20 extra poker machines.
“These applications should be rejected, and the cap should be lowered again so there are no more new poker machines. Alice Springs has already reached saturation point and people are fed up with the profound harm gambling is doing in their community,” Ms Bennett said.
Ms Bennett said the community have spoken loudly on this issue with hundreds of applications, the ‘No Pokies Mpartntwe’ campaign and their survey showing that 98% of the community oppose new poker machine licenses in Alice Springs.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform collaborates with organisations concerned about the harmful effects of gambling in Australia. As a registered health promotion charity, we strive to make Australia a safer, healthier, and more equitable society by reducing gambling harm. We prioritise policies that prevent and minimise gambling harm and base our policies on lived experience and public health evidence. We believe that lived experience is critical to developing informed solutions.
Carol Bennett is available for interview.
Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704