Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Ted Ballieu Can Legislate Real Reform

The real point of my two page opinion article published in today's Melbourne Herald Sun was to urge the Ballieu government to legislate poker machine reform.

Two simple steps.

Adopt the evidence based recommendation of the Productivity Commission for a staged implementation of the $1 bet limit so that poker machine losses will be limited to $120 per hour.

Raise taxes on all poker machine venues. This includes Crown casino, clubs and hotels.

Here's why this is a great political move.
The public want poker machine reform. The Age reported that 70% of Victorians wanted the more sophisticated reform that required gamblers to set a limit. Mr Ballieu will ride an unsurpassed wave of popularity if he takes this moral stand.

The reform is evidence based. The harm of poker machine gambling will be reduced.

Victoria's revenue won't be reduced. Victoria's poker machines rake in more losses than any other state providing a comfortable cushion for poker machine operators.

The capital value of poker machines will be reduced and therefore the potential for a damages claim.

Have no doubt, the poker machine industry will push back.

Bruce Mathieson, the pokies king, will call out his lobby team from his $18 million Mermaid Beach mansion. Woolworths will be shocked. James Packer will get his ex-Labor spin doctors to ring their Labor and Liberal mates.

But ultimately reform must occur.

It's inevitable.

like tobacco, the more we learn about this industry and the harm it knowingly causes, the more obvious it becomes that at some point these companies will be held to account.


Here's a link to the opinion:
If you find that this story is behind a firewall, google Pokies giants Tatts and Tabcorp land the jackpot‎ and then click on the resulting link.

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