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EYE-BALL on – Proposed Poker Machine Legislation – Pissin’ in the wind … or a poison Chalice…

The-EYE-BALL-Opinion-Header-2
Title:
Proposed “Poker Machine” Legislation –
Pissin’ in the wind … or a poison Chalice …
The ‘Club Industry’has been a part of social and community activities since man first became civilised – Romans had their private Clubs and Membership societies – the Greeks likewise – then Europe and America and so it spread.  In modern-day terms memberships like Masons, RSL, Lions, Rotary and the like remain the formal echelon of societies Membership groups.

Australian Sporting Clubs emerged early last century and they are now more at risk of fading from society than at any other time – if you were to believe the propaganda put forth by those who oppose the Poker Machine Legislation.

To be sure you all know what this ‘Poker Machine Legislation’ states and hopes to achieve – the proposed Bill is posted below for information purposes:  [The Legislation can be downloaded along with the Memorandum of notes that accompany the BILL using this link]

A Bill for an Act to put in place interim measures to regulate the rate of poker machine losses – The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1—Preliminary

1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Poker Machine (Reduced Losses—Interim Measures) Act 2010.

2 Commencement
This Act commences at the end of 28 days after the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

3 Object of Act
The object of this Act is to put in place interim measures to regulate the rate of poker machine losses by restricting the practical operation of poker machines.

4 Application of Act
Extension to external Territories
(1) This Act extends to Norfolk Island, the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Territory of Christmas Island.
Limited extraterritorial application
(2) This Act applies to acts, omissions, matters and things in the Australian jurisdiction and does not apply to acts, omissions, matters and things outside the Australian jurisdiction.

5 Relationship with State and Territory law
This Act is not intended to exclude or limit the concurrent operation of any law of a State or Territory, unless the contrary intention appears.
6 Definitions
In this Act:
corporation means a corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies.
poker machine includes:
(a) gaming machine; and
(b) any machine licensed or required to be licensed for use in a State or Territory as a poker machine or gaming machine; and otherwise has its ordinary meaning.

Part 2—Restrictions on the practical operation of poker machines

8 Dealing with poker machines
(1) A corporation must not:
(a) manufacture a poker machine; or
(b) acquire, install, own, operate or lease a poker machine; or
(c) sell or offer a machine for sale for use in Australia as a poker machine; or
(d) otherwise exercise any property right over or in connection with a poker machine or the revenue from a poker machine;
unless the machine complies with each requirement in section 9.
(2) A person must not:
(a) aid, abet, counsel or procure a contravention of subsection (1); or
(b) induce, whether by threats or promises or otherwise, a contravention of subsection (1); or
(c) be in any way, directly or indirectly, knowingly concerned in, or party to, a contravention of subsection (1); or
(d) conspire with others to effect a contravention of subsection (1).

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) are civil penalty provisions.
Note: Part 3 provides for pecuniary penalties for breaches of civil penalty provisions.
9 Restrictions on the practical operation of poker machines
Restriction on bank note denomination
(1) The machine must not accept banknotes with a denomination greater than $20.
Restriction on entering credits
(2) The machine must not be capable of accepting additional credits from a player if the machine stands in credit to the player to the value of $20 or more.
Maximum bet
(3) The machine must not be capable of allowing a maximum bet in excess of $1 per spin.
Maximum loss
(4) The machine must not be capable of allowing a maximum loss in excess of $120 in any single hour of operation.

Part 3—Civil penalties
10 Pecuniary penalties for contravention of civil penalty provisions
(1) If the Federal Court is satisfied that a person has contravened a civil penalty provision, the Court may order the person to pay to the Commonwealth such pecuniary penalty, in respect of each contravention, as the Court determines to be appropriate.
(2) In determining the pecuniary penalty, the Court must have regard to all relevant matters, including
(a) the nature, extent and circumstances of the contravention; and
(b) the nature and extent of any loss or damage suffered as a result of the contravention;
(c) whether the person has previously been found by the Court in proceedings under this Act to have engaged in any similar conduct.
(3) In assessing the extent of any loss or damage, the Court may consider the harm that is caused to vulnerable people, to their families and to Australian society by the use of expensive, addictive poker machines.
(4) The pecuniary penalty payable under subsection (1) is not to exceed 2000 penalty units for each contravention.
Note: penalty unit has the meaning given by section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914.
(5) It is open to the Court to find that a failure to comply with more than one subsection in section 9 constitutes more than one contravention of a civil penalty provision even if that contravention relates to the same conduct.
(6) It is open to the Court to find that a person who contravenes a civil penalty provision commits a separate contravention of that provision in respect of each day during which the contravention continues.
11 Contravening a civil penalty provision is not an offence
A contravention of a civil penalty provision is not an offence.
12 Recovery of a pecuniary penalty
If the Federal Court orders a person to pay a pecuniary penalty:
(a) the penalty is payable to the Commonwealth; and
(b) the Commonwealth may enforce the order as if it were a judgment of the Court.

As Legislation goes this is about as ‘plain-english’ as it gets. Take out the Preamble and the Civil Penalties – and the Legislation comes down to four (4) relative points –

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9 – Restrictions on the practical operation of poker machines

Restriction on bank note denomination

  1. The machine must not accept banknotes with a denomination greater than $20.

Restriction on entering credits

  1. The machine must not be capable of accepting additional credits from a player if the machine stands in credit to the player to the value of $20 or more.

Maximum bet

  1. The machine must not be capable of allowing a maximum bet in excess of $1 per spin.

Maximum loss

  1. The machine must not be capable of allowing a maximum loss in excess of $120 in any single hour of operation.

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We all try and want to live in a world of reality – for far to long the world’s population has suffered under a fool’s paradise – paid for with ever-increasing easy debt and the marketing skills of those willing to prosper from those who would gamble.

Pray tell – how do these four defining instructions listed above as part of the proposed legislation – hope to change the gambling habits of an Australian population infused and cultivated upon Poker Machine entertainment in Club environments for over 50 odd years?

A poker machine limited to $120 losses per/hour [item 4] – does not know who the player is – be it a single or multiple players. Who is this Legislation targeted at – machine or the individual …

Any gambler, professional, hobby, or addict will tell you some known truths – one being – ‘if gambling is intended – than placing a limit on how much a poker machine can lose in an hour is but a teardrop in the ocean of flooding options and ways gamblers will try to else wise feed their desire’.

When was the last time a ‘stroke of a pen’ meant or tried to change society’s natural-born instincts – was it not Prohibition in 1920 – a movement originally started by America’s Temperance League in the late 1800’s and once legislated – so began the greatest hoodlum, bootlegging, and murderous  era in America’s history.

It largely remains unchecked in America and among other civilised society’s around the world.  All that changed with the abolition of the Prohibition Legislation – was Government’s decided to tax the vice.  Call it a moral tax if you will – or put another way – an immoral Government took an easier road to see that the Government profited off the weakness of human vices.  They hid from the reality of what prohibition produced.

And so it remains today – therein lies the conundrum this Government faces with its Poker Machine Legislation – half of this and half of that but not a full lad anywhere to be seen.  This Government wants to retain power – and to have it they need MP Wilkie.

Wilkie will only support the Government if they enact his Poker Machine Legislation – such are the type of deals done in our famed halls of power – more like a brothel walk to find suitable tastes before you partake in the exchange of money for favours.

The desperation to hold power is there – and that facilitates this legislation to be put together as a kindergarten playbook – all that can be inferred is that this Government means to have this legislation fail – but not before giving Wilkie his promise fulfilled in terms of effort – but unfulfilled as an outcome – this will preserve State Government revenues and the reliance of Clubs on their Poker Machine revenues to fund their gold paved palaces with perks for those who manage and own them.  Can you not see the big fat envelopes being swapped already?

If this Legislation as presented is a serious attempt to help problem gamblers – then all that can be derived is that this Government and all its members should consider alternative employ.

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The EYE-BALL Opinion …

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  1. Herman
    October 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    This week has seen the debate volume turned up. In that respect I am happy. Legislate regarding on line gambling. Most of the claims of Registered Clubs Association is utter fraud. The Clubs return about 2.7% of poker machine revenues to community, sporting and other charitable local groups. Channel 9 is being investigated by ACMA for broadcasting breaches of their broadcasting license by making unauthorised political statements (Phil Gould and Ray Warren) during recent NRL finals. James Packer (the ultimate biggest casino operator in Australia) has come out of the closet to defend himself. Legislate to prevent live sport on TV promoting “gambling on the outcome”. (Don’t condition 8 year old… Do you want a bet).

    However, this whole process has made me consider the value of Hon. Andrew Wilkie MP. He is the Member for Denison. Do the constituency of Denison have any other issues beside gambling? Do they suffer from employment issues or immigration or any other Federal issue? Mr Wilkie has promised that he will withdraw support for the government if legislation is not enacted by May 2012, but is his work rate high enough? Let’s try to imagine that he wants to stand again at the next election, what might his next issue be.

    I am saying, he needs to lift his game. He too should be vocal on other issues. Mandatory detention, committing our service men, immigration policy. Gambling issues is a step in the right direction. It is better to try. We are not talking prohibition, we are talking about increasing public awareness, and trying to reduce social dis cohesion. We are also trying to reduce predatory behaviours and acceptance of predatory behaviours.

    Yes I heard that great joke recently, at the beginning of prohibition there were 500 bars in Chicago, and by the end there were 20,000 speak easys. Prohibition is not an answer.

    Nor is allowing the snouts at the trough of problem gambling going to fix itself. Therefater Mr Wilkie we have other social issues, so earn your pay. Lift your game.

    Senator Nick Xenaphon, appears to offer insights on a broader range of topics.

    Where Tony Abbott has now made “Cast in Blood” commitment to overturn Carbon Tax and Mining Royalty Tax I was totally in favour of getting rid of Carbon Tax but not Mining Royalty Tax. If he keeps adding issues like “pledge on Mandatory Commitment” he will keep dividing his support base. Would it be simply wiser to hold referendum on each issue?

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