The Australian state of South Australia has halved the maximum bet on all poker machines following an amendment to the Gaming Machines Act which came into force on 1 January 2017.

The reduced stake, which was one of several measures set out in 2013 as part of the government’s reform of the Gaming Machines Act, is aimed at reducing problem gambling in the state.

Gaming machines are now limited to a maximum bet of AUS$5, down from the previous maximum of $10.

The Independent Gambling Authority, the senior South Australian regulator for commercial forms of gambling, indicated that any gaming venues that do not comply with the new limit will see their machines switched off.

Figures released in August 2016 showed that the country’s regulated gambling market was worth AUD$191.88bn in the 2014/15 finacial year, with gaming machines – known locally as pokies - dominating the market.

Senator Nick Xenophon, who has been a vocal critic of pokies, told Gaming Intelligence that the reduction does not go far enough.

“I expect the $5 bets will only make a marginal difference. These changes don’t go nearly far enough and we will continue pushing for $1 bets,” Xenophon said.

“What this does show is that it is possible to reduce the maximum bets on poker machines at a low cost.”

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