"Over 80% of Australians support pokies being made safer - why won't the major parties?"
I first saw the damage poker machines were causing while working in my suburban legal practice in the mid 1990's.
That's why I ran for State Parliament in 1997 on a 'No Pokies' platform. And I ran for the Federal Senate in 2007 because I believe the best way to bring about real change is to have national laws.
The problem with State governments is that they are hooked on the $4billion a year they rake in pokies taxes.
Australians lose a staggering $19billion a year on pokies -- 40% of that coming from problem gamblers.
The independent Productivity Commission recommended in 2010 for $1 maximum bets per spin and $120 in hourly losses -- compared to the $10 bet per spin and $1200 per hour in losses that can happen now.
The poker machines industry is an industry based on exploitation and greed. No matter how powerful and cashed up the pokies lobby is, the fact is most Australians want to see sensible practical reforms to curb the damage caused by pokies.
In 2012 both Government and opposition voted against sensible reforms I introduced to implement the Productivity Commission's recommendations. Instead, we are left watered down changes that I've described as pathetic.
With upwards of 250,000 Australians either hooked on pokies, or on the way to addiction - the ripple effects are massive. Every problem gambler impacts on the lives of 7 others. If you have been affected by problem gambling please contact me so we can work together to tackle the damage and bring about real change.