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Wilkie, Xenophon confirm reform agenda

Fri, Jul 15, 11:42am by Staff Writer

Nick XenophonIndependents Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon have laid bare their gambling reform agenda for the new federal parliament, with a focus on sports betting advertising and maximum bets on poker machines.

Wilkie and Xenophon are long time critics of the gambling industry and now find themselves in a position of power following the recent federal election. Tasmanian MP Wilkie is one of five members of the cross-bench in the lower house, while Senator Xenophon’s NXT party has claimed one seat in the lower house and three in the Senate.

They have joined forces with Rev Tim Costello’s Alliance for Gambling Reform to push for a major reform in sports betting advertising in Australia, and want to prevent it from being shown during G rated periods.

This would prevent advertising during the vast majority of sporting events, while Xenophon and Wilkie have both questioned the ability for the gambling industry to self-regulate.

Their other key agenda item is to try and introduce a $1 maximum bet for poker machines, something which was flagged by the then Gillard government back in 2010, but which was never implemented, much to Wilkie’s disappointment.

The current maximum bet per spin in licensed venues varied from state-to-state. In Victoria it is $5, in NSW it is $10.

Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball told Fairfax Media that the policy would cost more than $1.5 billion and not achieve its aim of alleviating problem gambling.

“The economic, social and employment costs of this policy thought-bubble from Xenophon and Wilkie are even more astounding when you consider that the majority of problem gamblers bet less than $1 per spin,” Ball said.

Wilkie and Xenophon’s agenda is likely to receive the support of The Greens, who could have as many as nine members of the new Senate as well as Adam Bandt in the lower house. The Greens have indicated they would seek a ban on sports betting advertising during sports broadcasts.

The Coalition has previously indicated that its gambling reform agenda will be focussed on online gambling after the release of the review led by former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell earlier this year.

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