Up to 80 per cent of Canberrans want major gaming reform, supporting mandatory pre-commitment and $1 spins for poker machines, a new poll shows.
The poll also shows a slump in support for Labor since the last election, although its significance is difficult to gauge.
The strong support for $1 spins and mandatory pre-commitment - where voters decide upfront how much they are prepared to lose - comes in the face of Labor and Liberal opposition to both measures.
The Greens are insisting on both as a condition of poker machines in the casino - but there is no political will to extend the measures into clubs, which run Canberra's 5000 poker machines. At the moment gamblers can spend whatever they like, with spins of up to $10 a pop.
The Reachtel poll of 717 people for Anglicare and the Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance was done on July 27, with a margin of error of 3.6 per cent.
It showed Labor support down since the election, at 36.4 per cent, including Labor-leaning undecided voters, compared with its 2016 vote of 38.4 per cent.
Liberal support is at 38.8 per cent, including undecided voters leaning towards the Liberals. Their 2016 result was 36.7.
The shift against the government, and the 10 per cent polled who say they are undecided, fits with the result of the 2016 election where anger against Labor didn't ultimately dent its support, with votes returning to the party on voting day either directly or via preferences.
But the strength of feeling about poker machines will buoy the Greens in their campaign for tight gambling laws in a week where the government is expected to introduce its package of poker machine reforms.
Gaming minister Gordon Ramsay says one bill would "address the concerns" about clubs using eftpos machines to give gamblers access to unlimited cash, but he provided no detail. Another would provide the promised 50 per cent tax cut for small and medium clubs.
The Labor-Greens power-sharing agreement includes a reduction in poker machine numbers by mid-2020 from 5000 to 4000, but the government is yet to say how that will happen.
And it appears Canberrans might not be as concerned with poker machine numbers as with restrictions on how much money can be spent at a time.
The poll found 43 percent want a "large decrease" in numbers of poker machines in their "local community", with 18 per cent wanting a "small decrease", and 31 per cent saying numbers should stay about the same.
Of those polled, 17 per cent said they had played poker machines in the past two months, with the biggest players among the 18-24 year old age group, at 27 per cent - although the relatively small numbers render those findings less than secure.
Anglicare chief executive Jeremy Halcrow said the most significant message from the poll was the broad support for change across age groups and Labor and Liberal voters.
"Support for gambling reform in the ACT crosses party lines," he said. "This shows that gambling reform is not a matter of partisan politics, it is a matter of public health and safety."
For $1 spins and precommitment, support was highest among Green voters, at 82-86 per cent, but still high among Labor voters, at 80-82 per cent, and Liberal voters, of whom 75-77 per cent supported the measures.
Canberra's "limited harm prevention measures" were very weak compared to most other states and measures overseas, Mr Halcrow said.
He highlighted the finding that three-quarters of people polled wanted to see the compulsory community contributions from clubs administered by an independent body. At the moment clubs direct their community contributions largely to their sporting codes.
"It is very clear that Canberrans are sceptical that the clubs will distribute the proceeds from poker machines in the most appropriate way," Mr Halcrow said.
Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance co-chairwoman Rebecca Vassarotti, a Greens candidate in the 2016 election, said community feeling was "a wake-up call for politicians who have been frightened into inaction by industry".
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