The federal government has passed poker machine reform legislation, and gaming clubs across the country are getting ready to comply with its rules and regulations. While the legislation requires clubs to outfit their machines with voluntary pre-commitment software by 2018, the state of Victoria has set a more ambitious goal.
This week, Victorian politicians announced that they would continue aiming for the original deadline of 2016. This was the date first presented by Andrew Wilkie; it was only changed during the legislation process, when gaming club owners and poker machine operators argued that they would require more time to comply with the new laws.
”Victoria is leading the nation in gaming reform in Australia,” says Gaming Minister Michael O’Brien. “We will not compromise on our policy to suit the ever-changing policy on the run of the Gillard Labor government”.
Victoria has been quite proactive in its fight against problem gambling. This year, the state has banned ATMs in pokie venues and the use of headphones while playing pokies. The efforts have resulted in a decrease of $62 million in pokies spending, and politicians are not complaining about the lack of gaming tax revenue. In fact, they are pleased that they are no longer profiting from problem gamblers.
The state sets a very positive example for other gaming operators and pokie clubs across the country. By demonstrating that the state can thrive while losing gambling revenue, Victoria has shown that gambling reform is the right thing to do – and it will not eliminate gaming profits altogether.