Pokies juggernaut attacks guv’s betting limit

TAGs: Nick Xenophon, pokies, Productivity Commission, Woolworths

When the Aussie government made plans to implement a system that would require punters to indicate how much they were prepared to lose before actually gambling, it was only a matter of time before the shit hit the fan. And it’s the big dogs that barking back. The Age online publication reported that a Woolworths controlled pokies giant has attacked a government plan claiming “this would have seriously negative impacts on most punters.”

Obviously, that was the design. But several groups aren’t taking this form of regulation being imposed without a fight. The Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, which is 75 per cent owned by Woolworths, issued a submission for parliamentary inquiry. In its submission, the ALH Group claimed the government’s policy would be ineffective and instead, would impose higher costs on pub owners and customers.

Take a wild guess on how long it took Nick Xenophon to get involved.

And when Xenophon weighed in he came in on the debate with his gloves off. Xenophon accused Woolworths of trying to defense what he believes is the indefensible, but why stop there? Xenophon then proceeded to outlandishly likened their stance to big tobacco firms that denied the dangers of smoking. Which, when one really thinks about it quickly realizes it’s not like that all.

The Productivity Commission that approved the full pre-commitment scheme as a method of harm minimization, now faces harsh criticism that not only is the scheme costly financially but concerns over thousands of jobs being lost and a $400 million hit to the yearly state budget makes the scheme look, well, to put politely, “unreasonable.” Put plainly, it’s downright bat shit crazy.

So what do the experts say? Well, Alexander Blaszczynski a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Sydney, , issued a submission indicating the government’s scheme would only be helpful for small minority of problem gamblers. He also indicated that insufficient research had been conducted and that the costs and benefits were not yet clear.

It’s to the lobbying halls for sure, because you can bet those punters unhappy with the limitations will find online gambling as a quick and easily accessible alternative.


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