Pokies Lobby Punting on Government Pressure
The pokies hotels and clubs industry is set to launch a $20 million campaign to oppose proposed poker machines reform. Clubs Australia’s campaign, to be launched today, aims to scuttle reforms proposed by independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie by calling them “un-Australian”. The campaign website features a conversation between two mates having a quiet beer and “quick flutter” after a hard day at work. The ad concludes with one of the mates delcaring that a licence to gamble is un-Australian. There are versions of the website in Vietnamese, Korean and Mandarin too.
Andrew Wilkie’s support of the government is contingent on the passing of the reforms, which among other measures will introduce a daily spend limit at pokies clubs. Independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor are unlikely to support the reform, while Bob Katter is in favour. The government, which needs Wilkie’s support to hold on to power, has until May 2012 to strike a deal with states and territories on pokies reform.