In recent years we have seen:
- an expansion of gambling facilities in all Australian states
- the entrance of significant commercial players to the industry
- increasing reliance on gambling revenue for state budgets
- diversion of resources from families to the gambling industry
- increased access to gambling for people at risk of addiction
In 2010, the Productivity Commission published a major report on gambling, noting that Australians spend around $19 billion a year on gambling, while problem gamblers lose more than $4.7 billion a year. And governments in Australia make about $5 billion a year from gambling taxes.
Various players have proposed measures aimed at better industry regulation and improved consumer protection, but reform has proved difficult because of the resources available to the industry, and the degree to which state and federal governments and politicians are captive to pressure from the pokies lobby.
The time has now come to stop the loss and force industry reform.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 4 Mar 2012.