WA Royal Commission Finds Fewer People in the State Suffer from Problem Gambling Due to Fewer Electronic Gaming Machines

Daniel Williams

The Royal Commission into Crown Perth found out that Western Australia (WA) has a lower proportion of gambling addicts although the state currently features the largest proportion of gamblers in the country. According to the Commission, the inversely proportional rates are due to the fact there are fewer electronic gaming machines in the state.

An expert report ordered by the Perth Casino Royal Commission and carried out by a team of gambling researchers from the CQUniversity also found no strong evidence that Crown Perth’s Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs), also known as pokies or poker machines, were safer for gambling addicts than the pokies available in other states.

Poker machines have been officially suspended in the state of Western Australia since the Crown Resorts’ casino in Perth started operation in 1985 and the authorities only allowed EGMs to be offered at this very casino.

However, the WA Royal Commission has been addressed by many witnesses on matters associated with the blurred lines between the illegal poker machines and the legal electronic gaming machines approved by the state’s regulator to be hosted in Crown Perth. According to the report issued by the researchers from the CQUniversity, all electronic gaming machines were dangerous in their nature, because of the possibility for gamblers to start spending more they can afford to and get hooked on the services.

Crown Perth Allowed to Offer Limited Number of Electronic Gaming Machines

As mentioned above, the CQUniversity report said there appeared to be no evidence that the electronic gaming machines in the state of Western Australia are safer based on the terminals themselves. According to the researchers, the restricted availability of the machines has become the key factor that helped keep the problem gambling rates lower in the state.

As revealed by the WA Royal Commission, data published in the report showed that approximately 63% of residents of Western Australia gamble. In comparison, the gambling rate in the rest of Australia is about 56%. However, as mentioned above, the percentage rate of problem gamblers in Western Australia is lower than the one in the rest of the country. Currently, other Australian states and territories maintain problem gambling rates of about 2.3%, while only 0.9% of WA gamblers are categorised as gambling addicts.

Furthermore, the report says that only 8.7% of gamblers in Western Australia played the pokies available at Crown Perth, while the percentage of gamblers who played electronic gaming machines in the rest of the country was 17.3%.

The explanation provided in the report for the aforementioned percentage rates was the fact that fewer Western Australian residents gamble on the pokies available in the Crown Perth casino. According to the researchers, it would be reasonable to conclude that the number of problem gamblers in the state would increase in case there are more electronic gaming machines in Western Australia. Researchers from the CQUniversity further noted that their analyses suggested that WA people who play EGMs were as likely to develop problem gambling behaviour as people who play poker machines in the rest of the country.

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.

Daniel Williams
Author: Wanda Peters