Aussie Casinos To Lose $280 Million From Slot Machine ReformMay 10, 2011 7:02 am
In order to deal with the country’s escalating problem of slot machine addiction, the Australian government has proposed a series of measures to help alleviate the worrying situation.
Explaining the ‘pokies’ problem, Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie stated:
“…95,000 Australians are problem poker machine gamblers, losing between them a staggering $5 billion each year to pokies. That means that in any single day in Australia problem gamblers are losing $14 million to pokies.”
Therefore, in order to deal with the crisis a series of poker machine reforms have been proposed. These include the use of a gambling card with a player then setting their maximum loss before gambling with an automatic lock out activated when their limit is reached.
However, according to analysts a reform of slot machines, or pokies as they are known in Australia, would cost the casino industry around $280 million in the first year of operation.
Therefore, although a mandatory commitment has been given to go-ahead with the proposals, heavy lobbying is already being organised by various politicians, as well as states which depend heavily on pokies tax revenue.
Scheduled to start in 2014, it has been suggested that poker machine revenue would fall by between 10% and 20% during the first year. This would translate as a loss in revenue of up to $106 million for Echo Entertainment, and up to $145 million for Crown, alone.
Therefore, despite a pressing need to tackle Australia’s gambling problem, the drama will have to run a while yet as it seeks to overcome resistance from parties with a vested interest in the industry. As reform champion Andrew Wilkie explains:
“Intense political lobbying and a smear campaign against me personally show how desperate some in the industry are to overturn this historic opportunity for federal intervention in problem gambling.”