Thursday July 28,2011 :   Australian National University academics spoke to a thousand
 
With attention currently centred on proposed restrictions on the Australian gambling industry, and online gambling set for review by the government, a new study has shown that many Australians favour a tougher approach to gambling generally.
 
The federal government's plans to implement mandatory pre-commitment systems for high-intensity poker machines by 2014 appear to have struck a chord with many of the one thousand Aussies interviewed by academics from the Australian National University in a specialist study, the results of which were released this week.
 
Amongst the respondents, 28 percent did not gamble at all, while nearly half had gambled on something other than lotteries in the past year.
 
The survey found seven in 10 respondents agreed that gambling in Australia needed to be more tightly controlled, while three out of four respondents said people should nominate how much they will spend before gambling. The vast majority of respondents also believed there are too many opportunities for gambling and that it should be discouraged.
 
According to Dr Tanya Davidson from the university's Centre for Gambling Research, the gambling proposal was backed by regular gamblers as well as non-gamblers.
 
"This reflects a general support in the Australian public for the broad principle of pre-commitment, that people should pre- commit to an amount of money they nominate before they start to gamble," she said in the report released Thursday.
 
"It tends to suggest that people on the whole may think that the principle behind commitment is not going too far, or that it is not too heavy-handed."
 
The ANU poll found most Australians associated problem gambling with poker machines, followed by betting on horse or greyhound racing.
 
The federal government is still negotiating with the state governments on its gambling reform initiative.