GAMBLERS should be restricted to maximum bets of $1 per play on the pokies, the Productivity Commission's draft report on problem gambling recommends.
It is one of a raft of harm minimisation measures, including limiting access to ATMs at clubs, in the report released today.
Australians spend about $18 billion a year gambling, including $12 billion on pokies, the report found.
About 15 per cent of Australians gamble regularly, and problem gamblers make up about 10 per cent of those.
But the share of money that problem gamblers feed into the pokies accounts for around 40 per cent of $12 billion figure.
The commission said while progress on problem gambling had been made over the past decade, governments could do more to make gaming machines safer.
It recommends a limit of $1 per bet on all pokies, to limit the amount people can lose each hour to $120, and a $20 cash limit that a person can put into a poker machine at any given time.
It calls for a universal "opt-out" system that allows people to set the amount of money and time they spend gambling.
Cash machines located near pokie machines should only be able to distribute a maximum of $200 per card per day and all prize money should be paid in cheques not cash, the report says.
The commission wants the restrictions in place by 2016.
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The current max bet on a pokie in Australia is $5 on a 1c per line pokie. A few of the $1 pr line pokies have a max bet of $9.
I had a look at the 2006 census date and there is roughly 14-15 million adults in Australia. Obviously not all of them gamble but if they did to get a figure of $18billion that's only just over $1000 each per year. That doesn't seem like a huge figure to me.
p.s Posted in the Asian section because there wasn't really anywhere else to put it.