A public call for changes to casino operations in Western Australia (WA) is seeking to prevent compulsive gamblers from losing track of time and other aspects of real-life such as home, family, and employment responsibilities.
WA Should Do More, Relationships Australia Argues
The call spearheaded by Relationships Australia, a leading provider of relationship support services for individuals, families, and communities, argues that far more needs to be done to tackle problem gambling, besides the funded by casino money face-to-face counseling, 24/7 helpline for gamblers and their families and public awareness campaigns.
The organization is preparing to submit its views to the royal commission set up to assess Crown Perth’s suitability to hold a casino license, in response to the findings by the New South Wales (NSW) inquiry related to Crown Sydney.
Set up after the final NSW report submission and upon recommendations issued by the Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC), the Perth Casino Royal Commission, chaired by Former WA Supreme Court Judge Neville Owen, will also seek to examine the entire regulatory industry framework in the state.
Relationship Australia believes Crown Perth should implement warning signs inside the casino premises, similar to the ones on cigarette packets, as well as other mandatory measures such as availability of clocks and natural light environment so that players do not lose track of time.
Limiting Casino Opening Hours
Arguing that problem gambling has a significant impact on relationships and families and often leads to domestic violence, absenteeism from work, and in the worst-case scenarios suicides, Michael Sheenan, executive director of WA Relationships Australia, insists the state government should invest more into public awareness campaigns and also prohibit casinos from offering gamblers incentives to continue to gamble including free or discounted alcohol and free credits.
Michael Sheenan also believes that, besides a limit on the opening hours, counsellors present inside the gaming premises will facilitate the process of people acknowledging their problem and seeking appropriate advice, and will further help to reduce the level of gambling addiction.
Another supporter of imposing limits to Crown Perth’s opening hours is a former gambling addict now running a helpline for Gamblers Anonymous in the state who lost his career due to his weakness in horse racing.
The helpline coordinator outlined that the WA Government’s stance to provide a safer gambling environment by keeping pokies outside of pubs and clubs should be re-enforced by mandating restriction on opening hours of Crown Perth to give gamblers “some sense of reality and respite and break from things” and thus take the pressure off families and employers.
The about-to-be-proposed set of measures and limitations is the latest threat to the casino at Crown Perth which resumed operations recently, and its operator Crown Resorts, which is still facing the fallout from the damning NSW report and the casino license suspension.
According to the amended terms of the deal proposed by Blackstone Group to acquire the outstanding capital of Crown Resorts, any changes made to Crown licenses that “constitute a material adverse change” would be enough for the proposal to be withdrawn.