The debate over how to best implement technology to prevent problem gambling amongst Australians is rumbling on with no solution in sight any time soon. This time opposition leader Tony Abbott has advised Prime Minister Julie Gillard to listen to those concerned that the pokies legislation will lead to the demise of licensed clubs.
These are the concerns of Labor MP Mike Kelly who is worried clubs in his constituency will lose out if the legislation comes into effect.
Kelly’s commented that, “I have 97 pubs and clubs in my electorate.
“They’re all happy to tackle problem gambling – the issue will be to come up with a solution they can cope with (that) doesn’t kill them.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Abbott then told reporters, “Mike Kelly has obviously been listening to his electorate and I think that it’s important for the prime minister to listen to people like Mike Kelly and other concerned local members, not just on this subject but on the carbon tax as well,” he told reporters.
As we’ve reported before, the legislation is being introduced by independent MP Andrew Wilkie and will see compulsory pre-commitment technology installed on machines across the country. Opposition has been strong with Clubs Australia investing vast sums on an anti pre-commitment advertising campaign that has already been roundly criticized by a number of MPs.
One of the other plans that have been muted involves implementing the technology for purely high-stakes machines, something that might be enough to pacify some of the opposition from the clubs.
The controversy over the plans is likely to ramp up even further over the coming weeks and will likely be a key issue when it comes to Gillard’s chances of being re-elected.