Today in Parliament I asked the Premier if he, and his party members, would stand by the mandatory card-based pre-commitment poker machine reform announced by the Deputy Premier no matter what pressure came from the poker machine and hospitality industries.
His response was lukewarm at best. He said his government was committed to the reform, but he failed to address the pending PR campaign from the gaming and hospitality industries, that has already started, or guarantee that he wouldn’t buckle under the industry campaign.
And we’ve seen how furiously the pokies barons protect their rivers of gold when reform has been attempted in the past.
What worried me most from the Premier’s response, is that he seemed to imply that players could choose their own betting limit which, if adopted, would make a pre-commitment scheme completely impotent.
There would be nothing to stop gambling addicts setting a ridiculous limit, say a million dollars, then getting themselves and their families in serious financial difficulties.
Just like they do now.
Under the scheme the Deputy Premier announced, limits would be set at a monthly loss of $5,000.
I understand the Premier has met with hospitality representatives in recent weeks – has he been got at already? Will we see the systematic dismantling of the Deputy Premier’s scheme?
I sincerely hope not, but I am worried.