A Voice for Australia's Poker Machine Gamblers - Finally Australia has a Peak Body Willing to Speak Out for the Nation’s Almost 8 Million Poker Machine Gamblers

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Duty of Care, an independent non profit consumer protection association representing gaming machine consumers and their families was officially launched this week in time with Problem Gambling Awareness Week in South Australia.

Duty of Care represents gaming machine consumers Australia wide offering services such as public speaking, legal action, political lobbying, school education, parliamentary submissions, consumer complaints and practical advice for consumers, their families and friends, with support from a worldwide advocate network and local groups.

Duty of Care is unique in that it does not accept funds or involvement from the government or the gaming industry.

The executive committee of Duty of Care comprises solely of ex-problem gamblers who have experienced the highs and lows of the pokies and have a unique insight into what is required to protect consumers.

Duty of Care also aims to teach families how to overcome gaming machine problems without the use of services provided by the gaming industry, whose aim is to maintain the continuing potential for serious harm in order to not jeopardize their significant profits.

Duty of Care will also aim to educate sentencing courts to take a far more compassionate approach in the sentencing of problem gamblers.

Duty of Care firmly supports the Action Against Gaming Machines legal proceedings against state governments and the gaming industry, and are organizing a series of meetings in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide to discuss gaming machine related issues.

Elizabeth Mitchell, spokeswoman and Vice President for Duty of Care said ”Gaming machine players and problem gamblers comprise a new and vulnerable consumer group. They are liable to gross exploitation by the gaming industry, whilst having very few consumer rights.”

“This supposed ‘entertainment’ industry is a potentially deadly and insidious force in society and our individual efforts are ill-heard by the industry, the government and sometimes even the community. We have now combined our efforts in Duty of Care, which is committed to protecting our consumer rights.”

Duty of Care welcome the public to have their say, find out what is happening and gather together to find a collective voice in the action against gaming machines. Meeting times and locations will be published in local newspapers Australia-wide.

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Lana O'Shanassy