The leader of the Australian government Julia Gillard has given the strongest indication yet that she will be clamping down on pokies gambling.
It would indicate that the Prime Minister supports Andrew Wilkie’s plans for compulsory pre-commitment technology to be implemented in all venues.
“I come from a part of Melbourne where we know what it’s like to see people who put so much money into poker machines that they break the family budget, they can’t feed the kids, they end up with their houses being repossessed by the bank,” Gillard told reporters.
“People like to have a bet but I don’t think they like to see their fellow Australians suffer, so it’s the right thing to have an appropriate package to tackle problem gambling.”
On the same day, independent senator and gambling reformist Nick Xenophon has asked for anti-pokies reform ads to be investigated.
Xenophon asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to look at whether the $20million advertising campaign breaks consumer law.
The senator said, “The claims are misleading and imply that the proposed gambling reforms are going to impinge on people’s rights.
“These reforms are about trying to address problem gambling and, through a pre-commitment scheme, giving people the option to choose how much they’re willing to lose on the pokies.”
The advertising campaign was unveiled yesterday by Clubs Australia in collaboration with the Australian Hotel Association and the ads specifically state that the scheme is like having to have a “licence just so you can have a $5 punt” and that it will cause a “loss of freedom and privacy.”
In addition, Xenophon has gone viral by launching a website entitled www.itsabigfatlie.com.au and a Facebook campaign to counteract the claims of the Clubs and Hotels. It’s all getting a little bit childish isn’t it guys!