After months of having it out with community activist group GetUp, Woolworths has voted against $1 betting limits on its poker machines. The vote took place at a recent general meeting for the company, as shareholders decided on the best course of action when it comes to enforcing responsible gambling in Australia.
GetUp! targeted Woolworths, as it is the biggest poker machine provider in the country. Operating more than 10 000 poker machines at 323 locations across Australia, the community group felt that Woolworths’ adopting of betting limits would encourage other poker machine providers to follow suit.
However, Woolworths was confident that this would not be the case. Shareholders were aware that the betting limits would simply drive poker machine players to locations without Woolworths-powered pokies, causing the company to lose out on business and fail to curb problem gambling rates in Australia.
“The board cannot see how singling out Woolworths will alleviate problem gambling in Australia,” says James Strong, Woolworths chairman.
Despite rejecting betting limits for its own machines, the poker machine provider continues to support gambling reform across Australia. Woolworths is getting prepared to equip its machines with voluntary pre-commitment software, backing the reform as it applies to poker machine operators on a national level – rather than singling out one company in particular.