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We're taking our demands for poker machine reform to Woolworths stores to let our whole community know about Woolworths harmful poker machine business and the simple solutions to protect the community that Woolworths is refusing to consider.

Will you join other GetUp members and demonstrate your community's support for encouraging Woolworths to make their poker machines safer?

What: Woolworths poker machine action.
Where: Lismore Central, Keen Street, Lismore NSW 2480.
When: 2pm, Saturday 17 November 2012.

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What's story about pokies?

Australia has the most high-loss poker machines in the world - they are designed to be addictive, are extremely accessible and are facilitating a social problem that has enormous financial and societal costs.

According to the Productivity Commission Report, of the $19 billion gambled by Australians each year, 60% is lost to the pokies. Australia is home to more than 200,000 poker machines and Woolworths owns and operates more machines than any other entity in Australia.

Approximately 600,000 people play the poker machines each week but only 15% of those players account for 40% of all the losses. The 15% represents the "problem gamblers" - people who are addicted to poker machine playing and who are most often the people who can least afford to lose so much. A player can lose an average of $1200 per hour on a standard Australian poker machine.

Why Woolworths?

We're targeting Woolworths first because of their position in the industry and the potential for change if they adopted reforms. Woolworths are the single largest owner of poker machines in Australia. Woolworths get 12 cents out of every dollar lost on poker machines in Australia. By implementing changes to make their poker machines safer, Woolworths can prevent people becoming problem gamblers, lead the industry and force their competitors to follow suit.

What reform?

We're asking that Woolworths amend its company constitution so that the machines it owns and operates are safer for users. This means not accepting more than $1 per spin and not being able to lose more than an average of $120 per hour. We are also asking for mandatory shutdown periods of six hours per 24 hours.

Why are we asking for $1 bet limits?

The Productivity Commission and independent experts recommend $1 bets and $120 maximum losses because they target the dangerous product, i.e. the poker machines, and not the person. This was the original reform proposed by the Productivity Commission and was also the reform Andrew Wilkie originally requested from the government. Research shows 88% of recreational gamblers rarely bet more than $1 per button push, but problem gamblers frequently do. This reform would help reduce losses for problem gamblers – and their families.


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