Andrew is a strong advocate for poker machine reform. Of the 600,000 Australians who play poker machines weekly, 15 per cent are gambling addicts. They lose almost $5 billion a year. Gambling addicts routinely lose everything including their jobs, family and friends, homes, minds and sometimes even their lives.
After the 2010 election, Andrew negotiated a deal with Prime Minister Julia Gillard for mandatory pre-commitment on all poker machines. In 2012, the Prime Minister reneged on the deal and Andrew withdrew his support for the Government. Andrew then negotiated improvements to the Government’s watered-down poker machine reforms. He was critical when the Abbott Government repealed these reforms with the support of Labor. Andrew continues to push for reform and introduced a Bill to implement, among other things, the Productivity Commission’s recommendations of $1-maximum bets and mandatory pre-commitment.
Andrew is critical of the Labor and Liberal parties for accepting donations from the poker machine industry and argues State Governments are among the worst poker machine addicts of all due to their reliance on gambling taxes.
In Tasmania, Andrew supports removing poker machines from pubs and clubs and more effective harm minimisation in casinos. He has also been an outspoken critic of the Tasmanian Government’s monopoly deal with Federal Hotels.
Andrew has also exposed the troubling tactics of the poker machine industry including poker machine tampering at Crown Casino and Woolworths spying on poker machine users. These are now subject to investigation.
Andrew is critical of the rapid proliferation of online gambling and pushes for federal reform to curb predatory gambling websites.
Andrew was chair of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform which conducted inquiries into online gambling and other matters in 2011 and 2013.
Andrew supports the limited ban on betting ads from live sporting events on TV and radio before 8.30pm. The ban is a good first step, but the Government should go further and ban all gambling ads during children’s viewing times and extend the G-rating to cover things like the Big Bash. Andrew has campaigned for such a ban for years because gambling ads in sports broadcasts during G-rated viewing periods is normalising gambling for children and has to stop.
Media and speeches