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Barangaroo gambling measures do not go far enough says expert


12 November 2013

Dr Christopher Hunt is critical of measures to control problem gambling at Barangaroo's casino.
Dr Christopher Hunt is critical of measures to control problem gambling at Barangaroo's casino.

Despite the absence of poker machines, an expert working at the University of Sydney's Gambling Treatment Clinic has major concerns about the recently approved new casino at Barangaroo, and believes that the measures put in place to protect ordinary Sydneysiders from developing gambling problems do not go far enough.

"Minimum bet limits of $30 for baccarat, $20 for blackjack and $25 for roulette are much too small," said Dr Christopher Hunt, a psychologist at the clinic.

"The clients we see with gambling problems are betting much more than this. They are losing $50-$100 on each hand, sometimes even a lot more than that. And these clients are not what anyone would consider to be high rollers - they are students, they are taxi and bus drivers, they are new immigrants."

"Having these minimum bet sizes will in no way stop everyday Australians from losing a lot more than they intended to."

Dr Hunt also raised concerns about whether the proposed 'members only' policy of the casino and its 24-hour 'cooling off period' would have any impact.

"A VIP membership-only policy with such a short cooling off period only makes gambling more attractive. It will make gambling seem more glamorous and exciting, which we know is a factor in the development of gambling problems."

He also added that very little consultation with problem gambling experts appeared to have been conducted prior to the casino's approval.


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Media enquiries:

Verity Leatherdale: (02) 9351 4312, 0403 067 342 or verity.leatherdale@sydney.edu.au
Dr Christopher Hunt: 0409 657 400