Greens won’t back down from pokies stance

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
Greens won?t back down from pokies stance

The Victorian Greens have said they won’t be intimidated by the pokies lobby, despite revelations that the Australian Hotels Association donated $761,000 to the Victorian Labor Party as part of a campaign against the Greens during the last state election.

The Greens website says that in Parliament last Wednesday, the party reaffirmed its policy to protect the community from the undeniable harm of pokies and warned that without urgent donation reform, the AHA donation could set a dangerous precedent for the upcoming local government elections.

Victorian Greens spokesperson for integrity, Tim Read, said there is currently nothing to stop the gambling industry from trying the same trick ahead of the local government elections later this year, according to the Greens website.

To combat this, the Victorian Greens will introduce an amendment to the impending Local Government Bill 2019 which would see donations from the gambling industry and property developers banned in local elections.

“The gambling industry want to buy influence and they know which parties will take their money.”

“The Premier is fond of saying ‘some people go to the ballet, some people go to the footy, and some people go and play the pokies.”

“People are free to make their own decisions…maybe this explains why he says it,” Tim Read said.

Victorian Greens’ spokesperson for local government Samantha Ratnam said: “Our democracy shouldn’t be for sale.

“To get dodgy money out of local government for the 2020 election, the Government must ban donations from the gambling industry and property developers.

“Without reform, our communities will continue to be left behind in favour of the self-serving interest of gambling giants and developers,” Ms Ratnam said.

NT has highest pokies gambling rate in Australia

Market research company Roy Morgan has published its Gambling Currency Report, revealing data that gambling on poker machines is declining.

The results of the report are based on a single source survey conducted by Roy Morgan after thorough face-to-face interviews with more than 1,000 Australian residents on a weekly basis in their homes.

Casino Guardian reports that according to the latest data by the market research company’s report, the Northern Territory remains the part of Australia that has the highest betting and poker machine participation rates among all Australian states and territories.

The highest scratchcard and lotteries participation rate has been reported in Western Australia.

As revealed in the Gambling Currency Report, the NT had the highest proportion of gamblers who preferred pokies.

A total of 23.6 per cent of the NT adult residents have wagered at a gambling machine in an average three-month period.

The states of Queensland and New South Wales followed with 14.9 per cent and 14.2 per cent participation rates respectively.

The poker machine participation rate in Tasmania was 13.5 per cent, 12.4 per cent in South Australia, 10.6 per cent in Victoria with just five per cent in WA.

Tassie treasurer allegedly lobbies for pokies group

The Tasmanian treasurer has allegedly approached the state’s Liquor and Gaming Commission on behalf of the Tasmanian Hospitality Association, a major Liberal Party donor.

The Examiner reports that A Right to Information disclosure showed the association.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein wrote to commission chair Jenny Cranston on February 27 saying: “The Tasmanian Hospitality Association has written to the Premier, the Hon Will Hodgman MP, regarding the cash withdrawal limits in gambling venues … As the Minister responsibility for gambling matters, the Premier has asked me to investigate and respond.”

Mr Gutwein sought a meeting to discuss these concerns, and after that meeting, the cash withdrawal limit was increased.

On May 15, Ms Cranston wrote a letter to Mr Gutwein advising him of the regulation change, “in the spirit of alleviating the concerns raised.”

Prior to the change, the EFTPOS withdrawal limit in a gambling venue was $200 for people paying for accommodation or meals and $100 otherwise.

This has been increased to a blanket $200.

The Commission said the THA presented it with five reasons for making the change, including that “venue staff, particularly casuals, find it difficult to remember what limits apply under which circumstances.”

Independent MLC Mel Webb said it was “unacceptable for the Treasurer to be acting on behalf of the pokies industry, to the detriment of communities that he is supposed to be representing: a despicable example of that relationship that is unacceptably close.”

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