The mandatory pre-commitment pokies trial planned to take place in the ACT was the closest thing Australia would get to poker machine reform. However, several complications in the matter have led local club owners to believe that the trial will not happen.
The Gillard government has spent an inordinate amount of time seeking out support for the trial and ironing out the details. Stalling has resulted in the trial being delayed a number of times. It was planned to begin in February 2013, but with manufacturers stating equipping machines with the necessary software will take a year, 2014 is more likely.
The news has disappointed many pro-reform advocates across the country. As expected, Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilke are not at all impressed while ClubsACT manager Jeff House is also displeased with the situation. In a recent interview with The Herald Sun, House stated that the trial is looking less and less likely.
It is an unfortunate situation for the local gambling market. Problem gambling is significant problem in Australia, and the trial presented one of the only chances for the government to take a stand and fight the issue head-on.