The future of poker machines in Australia has been thrown into doubt yet again this week, according to Australia gambling news. Australian Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie claims that the government’s reform package is “too weak” and that he means to vote against it.
Mr. Wilkie is pushing for that the original 12-month trial of the new package be “remedied” and claims that it is flawed because it does not include the town of Queanbeyan.
Mr. Wilkie who is deeply unhappy with the current working of Australian poker rooms, and his Independent group, with the backing of the Greens, feels as though there ought to be a $1 maximum bet established within the poker machines.
Speaking about the government reform package, Mr. Wilkie has said: “When the Prime Minister reneged on her written commitment for meaningful poker machine reform I indicated in-principle support for the government’s watered down proposal, but from expert advice I better understand now that the government’s plan to trial mandatory pre-commitment in the ACT is problematic.”
He went on to add: “And this compromises the government’s Bill because the weak measures in the legislation only have value if they are the stepping stone to good reform. There is also the significant matter of the conflict of interest on account of the Labor Party being set to profit from the very large sum of public money that will be paid to Clubs ACT.”
His unhappiness with the current Australian gambling laws appears to show some signs of mild aggression towards the government, after this week he told the Australian Prime Minister, to “grow a backbone”, which is in stark contrast from the past, when he has claimed that any reform is better than no reform.
The $12 billion poker machine industry in Australia has been hit with a series of adverts in recent weeks too, depicting children coming home to nothing, as their mothers are out spending money on the machines. It is a move that will surely infuriate the pokies business scattered throughout the region.
The attitude of Mr. Wilkie has been reported in some sections as that of a little boy stamping his feet, and it is widely felt that his method of criticizing the reforms may well be the reason he could fail in his attempt. Some, including Jeff House, Club ACT’s Chief Executive, have gone as far to say that Mr. Wilkie is not even a part of the negotiations and nor should he be.