Centrecare encourages WA parliamentarians to oppose the introduction of simulated racing machines due to the harm they can do to individuals and families.

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TAB (DISPOSAL) BILL 2019

"I am writing to strongly urge you to oppose the introduction of the ‘Trackside’ simulated racing machines as part of the sale of the TAB.

As the primary provider of face to face counselling services in Western Australia, Centrecare’s Gambling Help WA service daily sees the deleterious effects that gambling can have not only on individuals but also their partners, children, extended family members and friends.

The emotional, psychological and financial impacts are substantial and long lasting for the individual and their families. There is also a significant impact on the West Australian community that is left to bear the unseen and unaccounted for costs that are a direct result from engaging with a promoted and legalised gambling product.

The many services that are affected and often not recognized and accounted for when looking at the broader social and financial impact of gambling harm include; General Practitioners; Criminal Courts; Prisons; Financial Counselling Services; Drug and Alcohol Services; Mental Health Services; Family and Domestic Violence Services; Housing Support Services; Family Court; Family and Relationship Services; and Emergency Relief Programs.

Western Australia has been rightly proud that it has prevented the proliferation of electronic gambling machines in our community, as we have seen in the eastern states. However, the current legislation before parliament will allow countless gambling monitors into the 908 TABs across Western Australia – dramatically increasing the accessibility of gambling in our state.

With the odds generic and the winner randomly generated, it is undeniable that these so-called ‘simulated racing’ machines have much more in common with electronic gaming machines than betting on a live race. They are a device to increase how often people are able to bet and consequently increase people’s exposure to the harmful impacts of gambling.

WA currently has the lowest per capita expenditure on gambling in Australia at $683 per capita, compared to the national per capita spend of $1,251. By allowing electronic simulated racing machines into our TAB’s, the amount of money Western Australians lose on gambling will only increase. Any revenue that the State Government will receive by giving permission to use Trackside as part of the sale of TAB, will be greatly eclipsed by the well-known social and service costs associated with gambling harm. Greater access to such automated gambling opportunities will only increase hardship in our community.

Consequently, I strongly encourage you to oppose the introduction of Trackside into TABs throughout Western Australia."

Adj. Prof. Tony Pietropiccolo AM

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