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Pressure mounting to power down pokies after midnight while signage reform proves positive

Wesley Mission 4 mins read

Media release                                                          16 November 2023

Pressure mounting to power down pokies after midnight while signage reform proves positive

With more than 80 percent (82.4%) of residents supporting a shut-down of the States 89,000 poker machines between midnight and 10am, the NSW Government and the state’s gambling industry face increasing pressure to continue delivering sector reform. 

The second Community Attitudes Towards Gambling Survey, commissioned by Wesley Mission, found public pressure is intensifying for a cultural and commercial shift in pub and club operating models, with almost three quarters of people believing they should not rely on poker machines to cover costs.

Wesley Mission CEO and gambling reform advocate, Rev Stu Cameron, says poker machines remain the most dangerous form of gambling, in terms of the highest losses and risk of harm.

Late night gambling numbers are dangerously high, with people identified as being at risk more likely to gamble between midnight and 8am. For Wesley Mission, this simply adds to the urgency for New South Wales to implement a shutdown of poker machines between midnight and 10am every single night – no more exemptions.

“We are encouraged by the government’s recent action on signage with the survey finding the 1 September 2023 enforcement of the external signage ban related to poker machines appears to have had an impact in preventing harm.”

Between a quarter and a third of people who gamble regularly on poker machines (at least once a month) say they are now less likely to enter a venue because of the removal of the signs. 

Cameron says, “This demonstrates what appeared to be a simple reform – actually the enforcement of regulations already in place for more than two decades - can have real harm prevention and reduction outcomes,”

“With overwhelming public support (82.4%) for switching off the State’s 89,000 poker machines between midnight and 10am it would appear a logical next step in harm minimisation and reform, while we wait for the implementation of a universal, mandatory cashless gambling card.

“This survey tells us what the community attitudes are towards gambling and it’s abundantly clear that the people of NSW are now much more aware of the harm caused by poker machines and want to see real and effective change sooner rather than later.

“With one in three people knowing someone harmed by gambling, government and the industry must do better.”

 

ENDS

Wesley Mission CEO, Rev Stu Cameron, is available for interview

For more information, please contact Anne Holt on 0418 628 342 or anne.holt@wesleymission.org.au

 

Survey findings below - pages 2 - 4

FastTracker Research for Wesley Mission

NSW community attitudes to gambling reform post-NSW election

Online survey of NSW adults (n=1007) conducted between 18 and 23, April 2023  

Online survey of NSW adults (n=1000) conducted 05-10 October 2023 

by FastTracker.com.au 

 

 

 

Research suggests that gambling after midnight is associated with a higher risk of harm  

Do you support a proposal for all poker machine to be switched off from midnight until 10am? 

                                                        Not asked in April 2023

October 2023 

No 

17.6% 

Yes 

82.4% 

Total

100%

 

 

 

What do you think would be the best intervention by the government? 

 

 

April 23 

Oct 23 

Introduce a mandatory cashless gambling card for all venues with daily, weekly and yearly loss limits locked in 

32.3% 

35.8% 

Introduce midnight closing for poker machine venues instead of 4:00am-6:00am currently 

22.4% 

26.6% 

A mandate for poker machines to play a negative sound after every monetary loss (April) Require poker machines to be silent (Oct) 

10.2% 

7.1% 

Make it simpler for people to self-exclude from all poker machine venues in the state instead of a just a maximum of 36 venues 

9.7% 

10.6% 

No need for intervention by the government 

7.5% 

8.6% 

Introduce cashless gaming trial of 500 poker machines is enough 

6.9% 

n/a 

Let local Councils have more of a say about extra poker machines being introduced into their area 

6.7% 

6.7% 

Other

4.3% 

4.6% 

Totals 

100% 

100% 

 

 

 

 

 Have you noticed that venues have taken down their external poker machine-related signage? 

                       Not asked April 2023

October 2023 

No 

73.3% 

Yes 

26.7% 

Total

100%

 

 

 

Given the absence of this external signage, are you: 

                                                                            Not asked April 2023

October 2023 

Less likely to enter a venue to gamble on poker machines 

13.0% 

More likely to enter a venue to gamble on poker machines 

6.2% 

The signage does not influence my decisions 

43.5% 

I do not gamble on poker machines 

37.3% 

Total

100.0%

 

 

 

Intention to enter venues without signage vs gambling frequency 

 

Never 

Less than once a year 

Several times a year 

More than once a month 

More than once a week 

Do not gamble on poker machines 

65.7% 

19.9% 

5.6% 

 

 

Less likely to enter 

6.7% 

13.6% 

20.2% 

25.3% 

28.2% 

More likely to enter 

2.9% 

7.3% 

5.6% 

18.4% 

17.9% 

Signage does not influence 

24.7% 

59.2% 

68.5% 

56.3% 

53.8% 

Totals

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

 

 

Do you have a colleague, family member or friend who has been harmed by playing poker machines? 

 

April 2023 

October 2023 

No 

68.8% 

54.6% 

Yes 

31.2% 

31.5% 

Don’t know 

 

13.9% 

Totals 

100.0% 

 100.0%

 

 

 

 

Are you more likely to visit clubs with or without pokies? 

 

April 2023 

October 2023 

Clubs without poker machines 

67.3% 

69.1% 

Clubs with poker machines 

32.7% 

30.9% 

Totals 

100.0% 

100% 

 

 

 

 

Like many issues, there is an annual awareness week for gambling harm What do you think the best name should be for that week? 

                                                                          Not asked April 2023

October 2023 

Gambling Harm Awareness Week 

35.5% 

Responsible Gambling Awareness Week 

33.3% 

GambleAware Week* 

19.1% 

Safer Gambling Week 

12.1% 

Total

100%

 

 *This is the current name, chosen by the gambling industry in NSW and adopted by the previous NSW Government

 

ENDS

Wesley Mission CEO, Rev Stu Cameron, is available for interview

For more information, please contact Anne Holt on 0418 628 342 or anne.holt@wesleymission.org.au

 

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