Gambling with policy: The economic contribution of gaming machines to the Australian economy

Abstract

Gaming machines are widely used in Australia, with more than $10 billion being spent on gaming machines annually. Using gaming machines provides enjoyment to many people, but with costs to some problem gamblers. The Productivity Commission is currently undertaking an inquiry aimed at getting the regulatory environment right, so that the costs of problem gambling are reduced while the benefits of recreational gambling are allowed to be realised. This report for the Gaming Technologies Association sets out some key issues for the review of gambling regulations. These include the size and regulation of the industry and the economic costs of removing or reducing the use of gaming machines. From the current position of ad hoc regulation of the gaming machine industry, the best regulatory approach will involve removing regulations that are not effective and imposing regulations that do effectively target the costs and prevalence of problem gambling. As technology evolves, the set of regulatory options will also expand, providing more effective ways of regulating the industry. This can be a win-win for industry, recreational gamblers, problem gamblers and their families and the broader Australian community.

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