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South Australian government new $5 limit on poker machines comes to effect from 2017

Poker Machines

The South Australian government has reduced the poker machine maximum to $5 per spin, and this have made it more difficult for players to bet.

Following the Reforms to South Australian Gambling Legislation in 2013, where the new limit was set for 2017, the decrease of the maximum bet of $10 down to $5 on poker machines came in effect last month in January.

Now all South Australian poker machines will have half the maximum spending limit they did in 2016, with an expectation that up to 500 machines will need be switched off in the state because they will be unable to facilitate the change.

It is unlikely to be the only change in regulations and laws around poker machines in South Australia with a review to take place into 2017 into all aspects of the gambling and wagering industry.

Despite anti-pokies campaigners claiming this limit doesn’t go far enough, players everywhere have been having difficulties playing with the new $5 note on poker machines at pubs and clubs since it was first rolled out in mid-2016.

According to South Australian Communities Minister Zoe Bettison this could prevent the one-off bets for players with only these notes, as some people quickly develop a gambling problem after playing recreationally.

Still, Senator Nick Xenophon said the new limit isn’t good enough and will continue to push for the maximum bet to be decreased to $1 per spin, despite the denial from major poker machine companies and the biggest poker machine supplier, Woolworths.

According to Senator the challenge is to wind back the damage done by existing venues. Senator Xenophon isn’t the only anti-pokies campaigner lobbying for the $1 maximum bet, with Coles Supermarket – the second biggest poker machine – having its attempt to impose the limit knocked back late last year.

The $1 limit was proposed in 2010 by the Productivity Commission as a strategy to reduce the harmful effects said to be brought on by poker machines. Poker machines can be played at over 20 spins per minute, so a $1 per spin bet limit still gives a $20 per minute spending rate — higher than almost all other recreational activities.

Whether the $1 maximum bet limit will be brought into effect, the new $5 limit was always set for 2017, with even more changes to come in 2018.

Also from December 31, 2018,  gambling machines will be required to be capable of displaying on-screen messages and another reform that Licensees must provide an automated risk monitoring system which has been recognised by the Independent Gambling Authority.

South Australia has already legislated in the areas of online betting and sports betting, and will introduce a point of consumption tax from July 2017 which will tax corporate bookmakers who offer their business to South Australian customers.

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