State Governments: Pokie Addicts

The purported greed of clubs and pubs has been well documented over the past week given their vociferous opposition to set limits for poker machine players.  Their concern for the welfare of problems gamblers is apparently non-existent.  Their profits at the expense of these unfortunates are far more valuable.

However I would speculate that they are not the greediest players.  And neither are the gambling addicts the most addicted.  The State Governments are both.  One in particular, the SA Sate Government, as an addict to poker machine tax, turned a blind eye to their addiction and allowed it to manifest out of control.  All the warning signs were ignored.

Here’s an example.

Poker machines were introduced into South Australian hotels and clubs in July, 1994.  A decrease of $72,000 was recorded by the Salvation Army in South Australia in 1995 from the previous year’s donations.  Coincidentally, South Australia was the only state to record a decrease that year.

It is estimated that in SA the major charities now lose more than $1m in fundraising revenue a year since the introduction of poker machines.  One of the considerations cited is that fundraisers in the past had derived significant revenues from the sale of instant bingo tickets and eyes down bingo sessions, both of which have fallen in popularity in favour of the pokies.

As fundraising revenue fell, services provided by charity organisations received cutbacks.  Decisions were made at Salvation Army accommodation sites and were adjusted according to available funding.  At a random hostel/refuge bedding would have been given to 18 homeless people instead of the maximum, say, 24, or alternatively, another random site may have decided to provide services for six days a week only.  The issuing of food vouchers or food parcels was rationed, and if necessary, this service was withdrawn until further funding was available.

There was a mood of concern as to the repercussions that might confront the community in the future.  For example, will many of today’s gamblers be tomorrow’s homeless?  The number of people and families now seeking assistance from the Salvation Army is increasing an unprecedented 10% each year, and it is likely that welfare agencies could well be drained of resources if this rate continues.  With so much money being lost by the public through poker machines, perhaps Governments should have considered channelling more of the windfall back to the public.

Dream on.

Approximately thirteen months after the gaming machines commenced operations in South Australia, the then Premier, Dean Brown, announced that an inquiry would be held into their impact.  The subsequent Hill Inquiry failed to conclude their impact on the charity organisations.  Whilst it confirmed that fundraising had fallen significantly in that period, it was inconclusive that poker machines were the sole cause.  Other factors cited as possible causes included that fundraising had become competitive in recent years which itself had made an impact on any individual charity organisations; the economy had been relatively subdued; there was high unemployment; market place competition was fierce; and the Inquiry also speculated that the community was becoming less trusting towards charity groups.  The Government used this as leverage in defence of the poker machine impact, declaring that the charities problems begun before their introduction.  It was their solid argument against paying adequate compensation to the charity organisations.

In other words, by then the State Government, which was already receiving machine tax of almost $150M a year, had become addicted.

And therein lies the root of the problem.

80 comments on “State Governments: Pokie Addicts

  1. Which is why state governments whether they be Liberal or Labor will never tackle the issue of gambling addiction.

  2. From: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/oakeshott-skips-pokies-debate-for-a-trek-with-clubs-nsw-20110414-1dg4c.html

    The marketing manager of Bankstown Sports Club, Chris Passanah, said the club opposed the poker machine changes and had given $5000 because the Sandakan trek promoted good community relations.

    He said the club’s charity funding would be slashed if the poker machine legislation was passed and revenue dropped. ”It will kill us – the mandatory nature and getting people to sign up to a form. We will have to pull back from the community.”

    $5,000 is it. I wonder how much the Bankstown Club makes in profit pa and I wonder why it would choose to penny pinch by withdrawing funding of a lousy 5 grand from a charity trek. Addicted to gambling is right and Bankstown are showing all of the symptoms..gambling addicts are renown penny pinchers.

  3. Hi Min another clip from the above article:

    “Clubs in NSW must spend 1.5 per cent of poker machine revenue over $1 million on community programs, and they have warned that their sponsorship of local sports teams and charities will be slashed if mandatory poker machine restrictions are introduced”

    From my calculations the $20 million advertising, to be spent over a couple of months, is equal to 20 years of community programs for NSW.
    And I do love the bit “must spend” makes you think they wouldn’t bother if not legislated to do so.

  4. Sue, this is where the old legislation making it a requirement of the bigger clubs to spend a million hasn’t kept up with the times. A million used to be big money but is now just a drop in the ocean and because it’s set at a flat rate of 1.5% there is no incentive to hold back on $s earned from the pokies. Maybe better would be a scale which increases incrementally so that the more earnings from the sole source of the pokies becomes far less attractive for the big clubs.

  5. While I would like to see the pokies banned completely as I have an addicted sister who lost her relationship, her home, all the excess funds from the sale of her home and remains utterly addicted with no assets and no money, I am a realist and understand this will never happen.

    Make the pokies low impact, like in the UK.

    This would ensure that even the most addicted gambler could not attempt to circumvent the stated limits by going to other venues.

    If they cannot do it all at once then legislate over a period of years. EG 20% of existing machines to be converted each year to low impact. with all to be converted within 5 years. All new machines to be low impact.

    It would allow hours of entertainment for a low cost. This would no doubt increase food and drink sales becuase the gambler would have money to spend on drinks, food, nibbles etc etc and still go home without having spent the whole pay packet.

  6. ‘Which is why state governments whether they be Liberal or Labor will never tackle the issue of gambling addiction.’

    I saw an image on the news recently that reported that Government revenue from pokies had dropped in SA from over $300 million/year to in the 200s this year.

    Which to me can only be a good thing.

  7. Shane, I think that this is one thing that should be pushed..that low impact poker machines aren’t anything unusual but are normal in the UK. From the article by Tim Costello in yesterday’s Age..

    Australia has 20.4 per cent of all the world’s high-impact pokies. Clubs are desperate to keep these high-volatility, high-impact machines because they make quick money from addicts. They do not want the low-impact, safer machines as in Britain and most other places.

    As Tim Costello says, it’s all about quick money from addicts.

  8. And as is to be expected, here come news.com with twisting things around to suit their own agenda. The headline reads:

    Andrew Wilkie refuses to say sorry for Nazi salute

    However, the story is that Andrew Wilkie cannot recall the incident ever happening. So how is a person supposed to ‘refuse’ to apologise for something that they can’t remember…

  9. State revenue from gambling is a false economy because it’s not extra money that has magically appeared to be harvested on top of other taxes and levies, it’s money that is taken out of general circulation and away from things such as goods and services, from which governments also harvest taxes and levies.

    But in the case of gambling it’s billions that the goods and service providers don’t get thus reducing their revenue and thus a government’s taxes and levies from those areas. Worse, it means many goods and service providers no longer become viable so close down, meaning less businesses and employment, which also reduced the tax intake.

    Gambling revenue may appear to governments to be an easy and a single convenient point for a lot of revenue, but it’s a delusive convenience that takes revenue away from so many others and puts it into a few privileged and wealthy hands.

  10. Very good points that you’ve made Mobius. I’m not certain about this but wouldn’t the clubs also get tax breaks for their ‘donations’.

  11. Min

    It is such a good point.

    If the clubs are against a limit by an individual then put in place low impact machines.

    No taking away rights there. All machines the same all revenue generation the same, punters can gamble 24hrs a day if they like.

    Only difference is that addicted gamblers go home tired and with money in their pocket.

  12. Shane, another one is that the addiction comes from the adrenaline rush (the upper) – the slower the machine the less rush. My guess-timate is that addicts will go for the faster machines with the limit and then try to work out a way that they can continue playing because one prime factor in gambling addiction is “I’ll worry about it later”.

    But either whichway it’s still harm minimization.

  13. Min

    I would agree with your analysis of addicts. However if all machines are low impact and there is no limit factor involved at all, it would kill 2 birds with one stone.

    1) No longer a limit being imposed, or the ridiculous claim from the clubs that our rights are being destroyed.

    2) Addicts will only have low impact machines to play and therefore can only lose a limited amount of money simply by design of the machines.

  14. Shane, I don’t think that slow machines alone would do it as some addicts can sit at the machines literally for hours on end. There is also the problem of identifying who is an addict and who isn’t. Ideally ALL machines should be both low impact and have a limit.

  15. Pip, Benjamin Law is most definitely a master of understatement People of Asian heritage are valued to the club industry. But, I think you have to be fair, and say they’re no more valued than any other nationality or ethnicity to the club industry.”. Yes indeed, it’s not the color of the skin that matters, it’s the color of the money.

  16. Oh dear, the media must think that the public are complete idiots (they probably do) – a fairly worried looking representative of Clubs Australia is on Sky saying that the campaign against Wilkie has nothing to do with the Duntroon smear campaign.

    Of course not…be believe you Mr. Clubs Australia..it’s just one of those amazing coincidences that happen sometimes.

  17. Just found out that a shopping centre and a club are going up across the road from my place. Great for my house value but the club might be a worry. And which club? The Labour Club. 🙂

  18. Min, how could anyone even suggest that the gents at Club Australia have anything to do with the ltd.news, Andrew Rule, and his relative, Mr. Etches smear campaign? What a ridiculous suggestion :]
    I mean, 95% of the comments on ltd news don’t believe it…..
    Miglo, there might be a pokie venue just for you.

  19. The Wilkie smear campaign is just getting warmed up, and opportunistic Campbell Newman, [ the bloke who wants to be the next Qld. Premier} could recall hearing about this after the event” [the Nazi story] when he was at Duntroon……..of course he did….

    Andrew Wilkie bows to pressure over Nazi salute claim

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/andrew-wilkie-caught-up-in-nazi-salute-allegation/story-e6frf7jo-1226039931520

    If I were Wilkie I would not be meeting Mr. Etches unless there was a lawyer present, and definitely no media……spoil all there fun.

  20. Pip, it’s unusual that Etches feels so angry all of a sudden. Toughen up ol’ boy. Having done officer training I can attest that part of the process is to try and break your spirit to see what you’re made of. People in the armed forces are trained for one thing: War. I’d rather have Wilkie standing next to me in battle than a sooky sooty la la.

    And for the record, I didn’t finish officer training. I wasn’t made of the real tough stuff. That came later. Etches will never have it. He just wants his 15 minutes of fame.

  21. Miglo, we are all tested somewhere on the continuum, and you are showing your mettle my friend.

    I just found this, as usual on Twitter, and I don’t hold out much hope of rabbott and his supporters recognising themselves in the story but we can live in hope.

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/rising-passions-of-the-right-20110415-1dhtq.html

    In Australia in the past six weeks, three members of the Federal Parliament have told us they’ve received death threats.

  22. Really should stop following Twitter after bedtime!

    This is quite tame for the OO, with a very different angle on the Campbell Newman /Wilkie connection, and an unsurprising comment on how the PM and Abbott handled the election result.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/a-most-wanted-man/story-e6frg8h6-1226037766253

    We were at a friend’s restaurant when my phone rang and a voice said, ‘Hello, it’s Julia Gillard here’,?” recalls Burton. Wilkie says, “I saw Kate walking towards me holding her phone out with a somewhat stunned look on her face, saying, ‘It’s the Prime Minister.’ I said, ‘Yeah, sure’, and she said, ‘No, it really is the Prime Minister.’?” Wilkie says Gillard congratulated him on his likely win but did not lobby for his support. “It was a short conversation and it set the tone to this day — it was pleasant and it wasn’t overbearing. She seemed careful not to take that next step [to lobby for support].

    “I didn’t hear from Tony Abbott until Sunday afternoon, in the middle of my daughter Rosie’s second birthday party, and his manner was different. He was complimentary, but he cut straight to the chase and said, ‘Right, I need your support’ and he wanted to start talking about it straight away. He apologised for the way the then government had treated me over Iraq [when Wilkie was targeted by Howard government MPs after he resigned from the Office of National Assessments over the government’s support for the Iraq war]. I suppose it was a bit cynical.”

    Patience isn’t Tones strong suit:]

  23. Pip from your link to the news.com story..

    This is not about Coles and Woolworths – this is the vast majority of mum and dad pubs, and small community-based clubs.”

    And so small community clubs should be allowed to profit from an addiction?

  24. Min, the “mums and dads” line has been used to death but this instance is the worst example .
    The number of pokie venues listed as owned by Coles and Wooworths is alarming.
    If the SA govt., estimates a loss of $421 million over three years, what would be the estimates for the bigger states, I wonder.
    Sa Gambling Minister Bernard Finnigan has so far refused to commit SA to the Wilkie plan saying he intends to work with the Commonwealth and other states on implementing reform and intends to address “revenue implications”.
    Senator Xenophon campaigned on a “no pokies” platform when he first ran for an SA seat, then Federal, and did so because he had seen the damage to pokie addicts and their families when he practised law in Adelaide.
    “Gordon Gekko” is alive and kicking.

  25. Pip, in SA Woolworths bought Booze Brothers from the Saturno family. Saturno’s also have Pokie Brothers, which were already in some of the Booze Brother’s pubs.

    Woolworths bought Booze Brothers for $8m (and they’d still be laughing).

  26. Miglo, the pub scene has been destroyed by the pokies, but on a lighter note an acquaintance of mine goes to her “local”, buys her lunch, is given a few chips to play with, eats her lunch, cashes her ships, and goes home after enjoying a free lunch :]

    Re Woolworths and Coles, the trick is to shop at Foodland here, they’re SA owners and as far as I know they don’t own any pokies.

    You may have noticed I’m not talking about the footy, both clubs have run up a lane anyway with injuries and “form slumps” etc., etc., and yougsters getting a game :]

  27. Miglo, me too. Did you read mine @ 2.57am. A most wanted man, about Wilkie and Campbell Newman; it has quite a different perspective to the spin in the Herald Sun.

  28. Yes, Pip, I did read it and I liked it. And I’m glad we’re not talking footy, although I imagine that after tonight you’ll be quite willing to explore the topic. 😦

  29. From: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/clubs-hitting-the-jackpot-and-keeping-most-of-the-booty-20110415-1dhx6.html

    ONLY about 2.7 per cent of the money clubs in NSW take from their poker machines is donated to the community, an analysis of the state’s largest clubs by the Herald has found, while the cost of the industry’s tax concessions is $6.5 billion since 1997.

    When tax concessions are taken into account, the figure is far lower.

    And..

    Most clubs analysed spent more on promoting themselves than they did on donations.

    For example, of its revenue of $154 million in the last financial year Penrith Panthers took $91,703,000 from its members via its poker machines, and spent $7,192,000 promoting itself and $2,738,000 in donations. It paid more than $500,000 to its former chief executive and recorded an $11 million loss.

  30. And from the same link..

    However, clubs are non-profit organisations.

    He compared this with the 0.85 per cent donated last year by Australia’s top 20 companies.

    He said campaigners like Senator Nick Xenophon and the MP Andrew Wilkie ”fail to put any community value on the auditorium of the Narrabri Golf Club or the hotel at the Campbelltown Catholic Club”.

    Yes, but clubs are supposed to be Community Organisations who run for the benefit of the community they have pokies on the proviso that they remain just that community orientated. Of course these days nothing could be further from the truth and especially true of the larger clubs, although the country smaller clubs are getting just as bad with nothing stopping them from replacing community facilities with..you guessed it, more poker machines.

    One particular resort in the Yarra Valley where I was marketing manager (plus I was on Council at the same time) put forward an application for poker machines – the argument is always the same that poker machines provide ‘recreation’ and are a community facility.

    I had to declare a pecuniary interest and so couldn’t vote on the application but was keeping my fingers crossed that Council would see through this ruse – it was nothing about community anything, it was all about how many suckers they could drag in to fleece them of their hard-earned. If anyone has read Grog’s piece – this is exactly the way that the clubs think about their so-called valued patrons.

  31. Min, that is disgusting. As Miglo said earlier, it makes my blood boil.
    Isn’t it funny, Nick Xenophon has been in the Parliament for a few years now, with the same ambition as Andrew Wilkie, but it’s Wilkie that’s being smeared because only he, of the two of them, can bring the government down before July 10th.

  32. Pip, exactly. Wilkie can make the reforms a reality whereas Xenophon could only try his best to get the issue noticed. However, I do think that the majority of people are on Wilkie’s side irrespective of the smear campaign. I think that the clubs have shot themselves in the foot by starting these campaigns, the UnAustralian one plus the smear campaign.

    The result has been that people are now far more aware of gambling as an addiction plus aware of how the clubs are willingly users of these people, for their own monetary gain. Because when push comes to shove this is what it’s all about – making money from an addiction.

  33. I agree, Min. The public profile of pokies and greed has been lifted from what I have observed. Sometimes things come back and bite you and this appears to be happening with the clubs.

  34. I just thought I’d share…. I’m being followed on Twitter by Marry an Arab. No reply necessary:]

  35. Off topic, but I had to laugh at the snippet that I caught on Sky news. The news reader repeated (and with a straight face) the following..wait for it…

    Tony Abbott suggests that Julia Gillard should listen to the unions.

    I think that Julia should have that one framed 😀

  36. Pip, I know what you’re doing right now. 🙂

    I’m doing the same. Let’s see who turns the TV off first. I hope it’s not me.

  37. Min @ 7.26pm, I missed this one, no, I think I’ll pass ….:]

    Miglo @ 7.38pm, I missed this one as well and I wish I had turned the tv off:[

  38. From: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/misleading-drivel-un-australian/story-fn6b3v4f-1226040276751

    The headline is worth repeating..and in bold 🙂

    Misleading drivel un-Australian

    Good public policy campaigns have three things: a clearly defined goal; a compelling argument, and a strategy to use the chosen argument to achieve the stated goal.

    The “It’s un-Australian” campaign fails on all three counts.

    The campaign does have a goal of sorts, to “oppose the licence to punt”. The problem is that the concept of a “licence to punt” has so far completely failed to capture the public’s imagination.

    The campaign is now left in the awkward position of having at its heart a goal that is self evidently a piece of ham-fisted political messaging. The “licence to punt” idea was unnecessarily risky, but the framing of the campaign around the concept of something being “un-Australian” is downright dopey.

    And especially the journo’s conclusion:

    The fact that Tony Abbott and Barry O’Farrell have both loaned their credibility to this ghoulish display of self-serving claptrap says a lot about both men’s credibility.

    And note the newspaper, it’s that icon of everything trivial but nothing fair and balance – The Daily Telegraph. The writing is clearly on the wall for the Big Clubs when a newspaper such as the DT starts printing pro-government articles.

  39. Min, how on earth did this happen. The author is Lachlan Harris, former press secretary to Kevin Rudd MP. Son of “Harris Farms” I think. He was on the news or similar recently talking about his new business, something about ties or belts..
    The earth has moved it’s axis for this to happen in the Daily Telegraph. The editors must be away.

  40. I’m in a state of shock. The Daily Telegraph is one of the most right-wing journals in the country and not known for this sort of ‘behaviour’.

  41. Don’t ya just love it…”goulish display of undeserving clap-trap”. And it reflects on Tony and Barry too. About time that someone called Abbott especially to task about organisations he chooses to support – I’m also thinking of the Carbon Tax shock-jock organised rallies.

  42. Correct me if I’m mistaken but wasn’t it Lachlan Harris who copped all the flak from the media when he worked for Kevin Rudd?

  43. This is a bit off topic but still about Harris, Alister Jordan and Andrew Charlton, the three REALLY YOUNG guys who worked for Kevin Rudd.
    It’s odd reading this now after all that happened; Peter Van Onselen had an insider, not necessarily Labor, remember the bodyguard who “took notes” and who previously worked for Alexarner Darner.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/novices-at-the-wheel-of-state/story-e6frg6z6-1225879617496

    Whether Rudd survives until the election unscathed from internal challenges, gets defeated on polling day or is removed as leader in a second term of government, one thing is guaranteed: he won’t be a long-term Prime Minister in the way John Howard was.

  44. Last year my golf club’s net profit from pokies alone was $11m. They have 200 machines, so each machine earns them $55,000 a year. Most Australians don’t even earn that much.

  45. Sadly the poor old clubs are going to have to make do with a little less profit when the new legislation gets through. Or even better, maybe they’ll start providing real entertainment again instead of bludging off the financial misery of addicts.

  46. Miglo, I haven’t read any news today but I will say that I’ve never been impressed by all the hype about his scientific ways. So far he hasn’t done any better than Gary Ayres.

  47. Thems fightin’ words Miglo.
    Ayresy got us to the the prelims, Craigie got us to the prelims. and…….

  48. That was most unkind Miglo, and what’s more it didn’t make me feel any better about the thrashing either 🙂

  49. Woolies eye more pokies.

    Of course they do

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/woolies-eyes-more-pokies-20110417-1djsw.html

    Woolworths could strengthen it’s grip on the poker machine industry if it goes ahead with talks for a partnership with the states gambling king, Arthur Laundy.

    If it proceeds with a joint venture with Mr. Laundy the grocery giant will lift it’s poker machines from just more than 12,100 to 13,300 and it will increase it’s hotels from 286 nationwide to 326.

    There is no excuse for these pokie robber barons not to agree to the policy put forward by Andrew Wilkie, which the government is working through, other than greed.

  50. And from: http://www.theage.com.au/national/twothirds-of-voters-back-bid-to-curb-gambling-losses-20110417-1djsc.html

    Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has backed a voluntary pre-commitment but will not support a mandatory one.

    And pre-commitments have never worked, such as the scheme already in existence in all clubs and this is the self-banning.

    A person when they’re cool calm and rational about money make a decision, and can in fact be shocked about how much money they’ve wasted, but once they set foot inside a club all that changes. I’ve been a witness to gambling addicts arguing with both bar staff and friends/family and the argument is always the same – but I won’t spend much this time.

  51. Perhaps Get Up could organise a boycott of Woolies retail outlets until it brings its huge influence to bear on the Poker machine manufacturers to build in a regulatory limit. Don’t they care that their brand name as the family grocery store is tainted by this exploitation society’s weak for profit?

  52. Nick Xenophon knows the suffering and loss, and suicides, of the many pokies addicts and their families from his time in his private law practice.
    Kennett should know, but being a died in the wool Liberal, he’s prepared to ignore the depression of a certain category of sufferers for the sake of his Party.
    Miglo, I agree,, he’s a hypocrite.

  53. Pip, for starters the clubs all soon ‘found’ the money when the non-smoking laws were introduced and at the time also used the ‘it’ll send us broke’ excuse. But most importantly is there even a comparison worth considering between the money wasted through gambling addiction and the fact that the clubs will have to fork out $s to adapt their machines.

  54. And at last some positive PR for Andrew Wilkie..

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/not-a-poker-face-in-sight-as-stakes-rise-in-reform-push-20110423-1ds8u.html

    Polls show broad public support for action on problem gambling. According to the Productivity Commission, 4 per cent of adults play gaming machines weekly or more often. Of these, 15 per cent are problem gamblers who are responsible for about 40 per cent of the spending on poker machines.

    Anti-pokies campaigner Tim Costello pointed out recently: ”Imagine the outcry if the alcohol industry got 40 per cent of its profits from alcoholics.”

    Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce tended to agree last week on the ABC’s Insiders: ”If we see that the majority of the funds are coming from people who have an addiction, then that’s almost an immoral form of income stream.”

  55. Pip, you could indeed be spot-on there..after all Wilkie is a former intelligence officer which is all about assessment of probabilities based on past behaviours.

  56. Min, I agree, Wilkie didn’t come down in the last shower [sorry for the cliche]. He knows full well that he’s got a much better chance of achieving his pokies ambitions with Labor, and he knows that Abbott has already promised him the moon based on dodgy numbers. It’s possible that he’ll get two birds with a couple of swipes, Labor are kept on their toes, and the Rabbott will eventually over-reach that bit too far. Actually I have no idea what that means exactly, but I think Wilkie will enlighten us in due course. 😕

  57. Pip, also in the article from The Age is this…

    Perhaps aware that his hard line is not winning him fans in some quarters, Wilkie is keen to play down his threat of bringing down the government. In an interview with The Sunday Age he says that if the government fails to see through national gambling reform, it will not necessarily mean the end of the government.

    I agree Wilkie’s ‘threat’ never did seem reasonable..maybe one of those things that a person might say and then wish that they hadn’t OR it might have been part of the strategy to ensure that the government knew that he was very serious about intending to see this legislation through.

  58. The alcohol industry probably does get 40% of its profits from alcoholics and pokies are an immoral form of income stream.

    All power to Wilkie and thank the gods for Costello and BJ.

  59. El gordo, I should imagine that a good portion of the alcohol industry’s $s also comes from teenage binge drinking. Alcoholics tend to drink cheap..

  60. Min, I liked the last part as well.

    Xenophon, however, says the industry’s campaign against the reform is making Wilkie more determined than ever.

    ”They will play a dirty game,” Xenophon says. ”But neither the industry nor the government should underestimate him at all.”

    Xenophon entered SA politics on a “No Pokies” platform
    and I’d love to be a fly on the wall while these two share a bottle of Cab Sav.

  61. Pip, that’s one thing that Abbott and his ilk just doesn’t get – the more that he tries to intimidate the more determined some people become.

  62. I thought that I would add to Migs’ post on this topic rather than start up a fresh one.

    Abbott’s response which has only just come in after all this time is worth noting.

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8245711/abbott-rejects-move-on-poker-machines

    Recommendations for betting limits on poker machines won’t stop problem gambling, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

    Mr Abbott said any attack on problem gambling must also target on-line betting to be successful.

    So what Abbott is saying is that he will not support any assistance for gambling addicts whatsoever because it doesn’t include the very rapidly growing addiction to online gambling. Therefore all of the gambling addicts who chuck their money down the toilet via poker machines will not receive any assistance because other gambling addicts bet online.

    But wait a minute Mr Abbott, isn’t is extremely likely that these addicts are one and the same people? That those who play the pokies also bet online? Isn’t this about helping people with an addiction and not about getting stuck into one venue or another venue.

    Abbott has lost the plot yet again.

  63. And more from: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3210341.htm

    ANTHONY BALL: Well the so-called low-intensity machines, or fruit machines, if you like, don’t exist in Australia.

    We have 200,000 poker machines. We’ve had poker machines since 1956. Most people are well able to set and stick to limits using the poker machines we have now. The low-intensity so-called machine is a figment of Andrew’s imagination. It doesn’t exist.

    And wouldn’t your penny go a long way these days! Or even 10-15 years ago when there were 5 cent machines x 9 lines. Now a minimum bet is a dollar times 40 and more lines. The gambling industry have certainly been well and truly been eager to introduce new machines which encourage people to spend more, but all of sudden it’s a ‘huge burden’ on the industry to introduce methods which would encourage people to spend less.

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