Introducing note acceptors on poker machines will bring intense misery to the lives of problem gamblers and their families.

AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman, said the State Government and opposition support of the hotel industry’s introduction of note acceptors on pokie machines, spells disaster for South Australian families of problem gamblers already experiencing extreme hardship and vulnerability.

Peter Sandeman participated in the Cross-bench Round Table on Gambling legislation at Parliament House last week.

“Problem gambling is one of many reasons people are forced to seek emergency food, financial counselling assistance and other crisis support through agencies like AnglicareSA,” Mr Sandeman said.

“This move by our state’s politicians is a nail in the coffin for families of problem gamblers already in crisis.

“Income inadequacy is a major driver of problem gambling. In desperate times people look for hope even when the odds are hopeless.

“With Newstart so low, a lack of jobs and housing unaffordability at crisis levels, this latest move on pokies creates a perfect storm for sending families into a downward spiral.

“It’s simple. Reduce the number of pokies, set one dollar limits on bets, and provide adequate support around identified problem gamblers.”

Mr Sandeman said more financial counselling support is needed to help people identify other ways to get themselves out of debt.

“Increased income support and an increase in Newstart has never been needed more.”