Huge change coming to South Australia pokies venues for millions of punters after spike in suicides


Huge change coming to pokies venues for millions of punters after warning of spike in suicide rates from gamblers ‘chasing their loses’

  • Gamblers used to be allowed to withdraw $1,000 per day at venues with pokies
  • Withdrawal limits have been made to help people who have gambling addiction
  • Coroners Court estimates that one in ten suicides are linked to gambling

Millions of gamblers will only be allowed to withdraw a maximum of $200 per day at pokie venues, down from $1,000 per day, following a spike in suicides. 

Tough new withdrawal limits of $250 per day were introduced in December in South Australia to stop poker machine punters from chasing their losses.

But many venues had sought out exemptions from those rules, none of which are being renewed.

Before the change, gamblers could make five withdrawals per day of up to $200 using an Etfpos machine at pokie machine venues.

The South Australian Coroners Court estimates that one in ten suicides are linked to gambling addiction.

Tough new withdrawal limits of $250 per day were introduced in South Australia to stop poker machine punters from chasing their losses (stock image)

Tough new withdrawal limits of $250 per day were introduced in South Australia to stop poker machine punters from chasing their losses (stock image)

Uniting Communities spokesman Mark Henley said the new rules are encouraging.

‘We were, for 20 years, trying to limit the ability of gamblers to chase their losses with more and more money, because research showed again and again it is one of the classic signs of addiction,’ he said, according to The Daily Telegraph.

‘It is all about harm minimisation, and the issue with pokies is that in any other industry where there is a transaction you know what you are spending.  

Similar $200 limits apply in the ACT and in Tasmania. 

When the new rules were enforced in South Australia, 16 venues in regional areas claimed it was harder for punters to access cash and applied for exemptions.

Before the change, gamblers could make five withdrawals per day of up to $200 using an Etfpos machine at pokie machine venues (stock image)

Before the change, gamblers could make five withdrawals per day of up to $200 using an Etfpos machine at pokie machine venues (stock image)

Some were allowed to keep withdrawals of limits between $350 and $1,000 per day, per card. 

Eight venues out of 16 that were granted exemptions to the new limits have not applied for an extension, meaning they will also have to stick to the new rules.

Mr Henley called on the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner to report on the progress of facial-recognition technology to limit pokie addiction.

‘We are struggling to find out in the welfare sector how well progressed the facial recognition installation is because that will have a big impact, especially now that venues are becoming more active following COVID-19 shut-downs,’ Mr Henley said.



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