There are many strategies used to engage gamblers. Considering that gaming machines represent the preferred choice, gaming providers go to great lengths to ensure that people stay at machines for as long as possible.
Some of these strategies are locating Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) conveniently so that people have endless access to cash; operating courtesy buses so that patrons can drink without worry which in turn creates lower inhibitions and increases the gambling spend.
Venues also alter lighting, music and club layout to ensure gamblers stay at the venue for as long as possible. The ‘Attendant’ button on poker machines is a prime example where you can call an attendant to bring you a drink, meaning you don’t have to leave the machine!
Automatic teller machines would be banned from pubs and clubs with poker machines under a Rudd government proposal to dramatically cut problem gambling. The proposed ban on ATMs mirrors action by the Victorian Government, which has announced that ATMs will be removed from pokies venues from 2012.
In December 2007, the Victorian Government passed the Gambling Legislation Amendment (Problem Gambling and Other Measures) Act 2007. This act introduced measures that would require major industry participants to have a Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct approved by the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation (VCGR).
The legislation will not allow any Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in a gaming venue if it does not limit the amount a customer can withdraw to a total of $400 per day. The prohibition also applies to ATMs within 50 metres of an entrance to the gaming area of a casino and to the entrance of a gaming machine area at a racecourse. The Act also prohibits a gaming venue operator from cashing more than one cheque per customer per day and limits the total amount cashable to $400 per day.
In August of 2007, the Victorian Government enacted legislation requiring that all winnings and accumulated credits of $1000 or more on a non-casino gaming machine be paid entirely by cheque. This measure will stop winnings over $1000 being paid partly by cheque and partly in cash, with the latter at risk of being reinvested immediately in a gaming machine. The Government is also committed to reducing the maximum gaming machine bet limit to $5 by 2010.
Peter Costello is calling for the introduction of a smartcard to allow gamblers to set their weekly losses before being allowed to play "heavy duty" poker machines where he believes individuals could lose up to $1200 an hour.
Although greyhound, blackjack and trotting are popular forms of punting, poker machines continue to present the most substantial problem gambling area as there is a lack of skill required as opposed to punting at the track. The biggest trap would have to be accessibility to gambling 24 hours a day, mostly at local venues but primarily online.
The banks are also to blame continually lending large amounts of money to individuals who don’t have the means to pay it back or giving high rate credit cards with ridiculous cash limits.