Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has backed efforts to tackle problem gambling in New South Wales but stopped short of endorsing any specific method for imposing limits or restraints. Source: SMH.
Ahead of the March state election, Premier Dominic Perrotet has vowed to introduce a cashless card for poker machines, while yesterday, Labor Leader Chris Minns said NSW Labor would reduce the amount of poker machines across the state, introduce a cash input limit of $500 and ban “VIP lounge” signs if elected.
In a weekend interview, Archbishop Fisher said he wouldn’t pretend to have the expertise on what forms of gambling are the most dangerous and what forms of putting limits on them or restraints on them are the most effective.
“But I would certainly support the efforts of any government to be looking at how can we deal with the problem of problem gambling and all the social harm it is doing,” he said.
Like alcohol, gambling was harmless in moderation, Archbishop Fisher said, but addiction was ruining lives.
He said some Catholics may feel compromised by the Church not taking a clearer stand in opposing gambling and alcohol use, but “some things in life are about moderation. They are not about an absolute yes or no”.
While the Catholic Church had mostly divested itself from the clubs industry in Sydney, the Archbishop remains the patron of Dooleys Catholic Club in Lidcombe, which is regularly named among the most profitable pokie venues in NSW with about 450 machines. He said the Church had nothing to do with day-to-day running of any Sydney clubs, but he encouraged Catholics who were owners and managers to discourage problem gambling.
Sydney Archbishop backs gambling reforms to prevent ‘social harm’ (By Anna Patty, SMH)