If Australian prime minister Julia Gillard manages to form a ruling coalition and maintain her position, she’ll have Australian gambling law reform to thank.
After a deadlocked result in the August 21 general election in which neither top party gained a majority in Parliament, it is up to either Gillard or Tony Abbott to appeal to other parties’ lawmakers to form a government. Thanks to Tasmanian Independent Party member Andrew Wilkie, Gillard is one giant step closer to winning another term as prime minister.
The price? Reformation to extant gambling laws in Australia, particularly with regard to tighter regulations for the $10 billion land-based pokie machine industry. Wilkie is a hard-liner on gambling, having previously claimed that slot machines “cause addiction and misery for families.”
Though Australian monopolies Tabcorp Holdings and Tatts had resisted any such reform, any new gambling laws in Australia will probably not go into effect before the companies’ licensing renewals in 2012. The renewals are expected to either be held back or awarded among other private companies so as to provide regulated online casinos in Australia.
According to recent data, Australian players have gambled some AU $11.9 billion on slot machines in the first six months of 2009. The Australian central government earns about AU $3 billion per year on the machines, so sweeping reforms seem unlikely.