The South Australian Government will for the first time, allow punters to use banknotes in local poker machine. Under the proposed new legislation, the government will enable select stakeholders (hotels, local clubs and the Adelaide Casino) to install poker machines that can allow banknotes for wagering. Before this legislation, all poker machines available in most casino places in Adelaide and Australia in general only accept coins.
The proposed legislation will come with unique advantages, considering how convenient it is to carry banknotes compared to coins. However, it has received mixed reviews and criticism from pundits. Welfare groups, anti-gamblers and crossbenchers, in particular, are firmly against the move. Their main sentiment emphasizes that hotels and other hospitality outlets that will be allowed to install the new machines will have an unfair advantage. They cite that this new advantage may leave gamblers to exploitation.
However, the state’s Attorney General, Vickie Chapman, was quick to counter these sentiments. According to the official statement, the government insists that the proposed legislation will ensure that the industry “is in line with other existing jurisdictions.” The South Australian government also issued a statement confirming that all banknote acceptors will match other legal jurisdictions that govern the gambling and hotel industries in Australia and New Zealand. The regulations will also include restrictions on the accepted note denominations as well as how much one can wager or win. Nonetheless, these statements of reassurance failed to convince welfare groups.
According to anti-gambling societies and crossbenchers, introducing note-accepting pokie machines will only make it worse for local communities. Their main concern is the machine will create an environment that makes it much easier for gamblers to over-indulge and lose more money.
Considering banknotes denominations have a significantly higher value than coins, the potential risk will automatically increase if pokie machines allow notes. The South Australian government, through the office of the state attorney, however, countered this by stating that, “regulations will be in place to protect the community.” In the proposed legislation, selected venues that will be allowed to install the new note acceptors will suspend the entry of customers classified as gambling addicts.
While speaking for the government, the Attorney General insisted that there will be adequate measures to ensure that the community is well protected and all that all venues comply with the set regulations. The proposed legislation includes how the government will guarantee “a safe and responsible gambling environment while still supporting the economically viable gambling industry.” According to the state, there is not enough evidence to suggest that the new note acceptors will result in a devastating problem for gamblers.
Still, welfare communities continue to angrily protest against the proposed legislation citing that local gambling could move from bad to worse with the new pokie machines. As it stands, the government is committed to unveiling these new note acceptors including the regulations. The prospect dynamics of the gambling industry will have to await actual metrics following the implementation of the new pokie machines. Rules and legislation will be made public through government websites and other authority gambling platforms.