City to pen gaming concerns letter

City to pen gaming concerns letter

Australian Christian Lobby WA director and councillor Peter Abetz.

So concerned is the City of Gosnells about potential gambling problems within its boundaries that the chief executive will write a letter to the Premier of Western Australia and all members of State Parliament whose electorates include parts of the City of Gosnells.

Councillor Peter Abetz put forward a motion in council on Tuesday night for the chief executive to write the letter as he is against the amendment agreed to by the government in the TAB (Disposal) Bill 2019.

Councillor Abetz has previously raised concerns about the introduction of gaming machines to the TAB, which are known as ‘Trackside’ machines, citing that they can pose similar gambling addiction problems to poker machines seen in the casino and the eastern states.

He mentioned that a Bill to review the impact of simulated racing machines after three years will be cold comfort for families which will have been devastated by this form of gambling.

“There is little prospect of any government having the courage to ban it after three years given the income stream it will be providing to hotels, clubs and the TAB,” he said.

Mr Abetz also mentioned the Alcohol Action Plan, which the city this week received an award for, to put emphasis on his motion as to why it was important for the city to do something and get involved in the State Government decision.

However, councillors Julie Brown, Terresa Lynes and City of Gosnells Mayor Glenn Dewhurst voted against the motion.

Ms Brown said she didn’t support these machines but didn’t want local government to get involved with State Government decisions.

Mr Dewhurst also raised the fact that Mr Abetz gets paid by the Christian Lobby to raise this issue in council.

“I didn’t vote against the actual Bill, I voted against Peter Abetz, who has a direct financial interest,” he said.

However, Mr Abetz said during the council meeting that he gained zero financial benefit from the issue.

He also said his decision to put forward the motion was to help the community in Gosnells considering the city is a low socio-economic area that could potentially be highly affected by these machines.