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The Australian Coalition wants to abolish the national gambling regulator

The opposition Coalition in Australia has vowed to abolish the country’s national gambling regulator and replace it with an industry advisory council, if the alliance of parties wins the federal government election on September 7.

The advisory council would comprise club and gaming venue operators who would meet quarterly, while the Coalition would hand responsibility for problem gambling support services to the states and would ban the extension of credit to online gamblers.

The Coalition said that it supported a “national voluntary pre-commitment program for electronic gaming machines” but accused the ruling Labor party of failing to implement reforms that would help problem gamblers.

The proposals have won support from Clubs Australia, the leading body for gaming venues.

“The Coalition's approach recognises the work already done and reflects the reality that policies based on proper consultation and consideration work better for problem gamblers than those that are the product of hasty political deals,” Clubs Australia said.

Coalition community services spokesman Kevin Andrews told ABC Radio that independent researchers would be involved in the council, and added: “The industry itself is concerned about problem gambling.”

However, independent senator Nick Xenophon told the AAP news agency: “What the policy reflects is industry capture.”

Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie added: “Self-regulation hasn't worked because the gambling industry is only concerned with protecting its profits and doesn't care about the harm caused to problem gamblers.”

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