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goodbye to pokie reform? « Previous | |Next »
January 18, 2012

The signs are obvious. The Gillard Government is backing away from pokies reform---away from the mandatory pre-commitment scheme for poker machines.

The reason is twofold. First, once the Liberal MP Peter Slipper became the Speaker in the House of Representatives the Gillard Government is no longer dependent on the vote of Andrew Wilkie to remain in power. Secondly, the country independents were not willing to support Wilkies' mandatory pre-commitment scheme.


Andrew Wilkie had demanded that the minority Gillard government force players to set mandatory pre-commitment limits in return for his support for the government, rather than the alternative proposal for maximum bet limits of $1. Labor has dumped that agreement. Reducing the losses of problem gamblers would significantly impact on the profits of the pokies industry.

What is disclosed by the backing away from reform is just how much the ALP has been captured by the gambling industry, and how unwilling it is to address the issue of problem gamblers in a serious fashion. Labor doesn’t care about pokie addiction. No doubt we will hear lots of spin about the benefits of a voluntary pre-commitment system and how counselling really works.

What now? Postpone things to 2016. A fall back to the recommendations of the Productivity Commission's Report? This is a poker machine trial that could push a full reform package (a nationwide mandatory precommitment scheme) out to 2016.

Maybe the states can go it alone on on betting limits. Tasmania is one possibility. It sure won't be NSW because gambling revenue raised $1.7 billion in 2009-10 in that state.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:21 AM | | Comments (5)


Labor’s callous disregard for the victims of pokie addiction is now on display.

Gillard has also reported as saying that the Labor Government would not support an alternative proposal, backed by the senator Nick Xenophon, for maximum bet limits of $1.

The Americans have "blue dogs", we have "yellow dogs".
The cynicism and defeatism in implicit in this uncovers the Giilard government in its likely true form, of cat-cack.

Gillard risks remimnding the voter that she cant be trusted.

But in saying that Wilkie is a twat and his pre-commitment stuff is a load of rubbish that shouldnt be supported so she is damned if she does damned if she doesnt.
The one dollar limit is an improvement and if Labor could make the pokies unable to accept notes Gillard will be criticised but will have done something good even if she doesnt completely address Nan's comment.

For a long time now, I have followed this poker machine saga and this escalating since the time of the Productivity Commission inquiry into gambling. It's a pity it cannot be more appreciated how capricious and self serving this industry really is (particularly their arguments).

A quick example, we hear all this prattle from them about supporting 'voluntary' pre-commitment, yet, in their original submission to the PC (ClubsAust sub 164, PDF p.11) they state "examples of proposed measures which Clubs Australia believes will be ineffective and should not be supported include voluntary pre-commitment..." They are also spruiking 'multi venue self exclusion' (can't imagine what that might entail when considering the following) as in a further submission to the PC (CA DR359 PDF p. 39-41) they spend about 5 pages discrediting this particular measure (see for yourself).

The bottom line is they will say just about anything and will not go much beyond window dressing measures because of their need to preserve the status quo. One of the hardest things to swallow about all this is that it exalts the dictum that might is right and that lies and deception will get you what you want. This cannot be excused with, 'well that's just business' especially when you consider how much these clubs play on their 'wholesome' not for profit and community minded image.