The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will join Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Alliance for Gambling Reform’s Tim Costello to comment on Coles’ pledge to introduce a $1 maximum bet limit on its poker machines.
Coles operates 3069 poker machines and is attempting to introduce a $1 betting cap but poker machine manufacturers have so far refused the supermarket giant’s request to reconfigure the machines. If the industry continues to block $1 maximum bets, it’s understood Coles will exit pokies.
Mr Wilkie said Coles’ stance was a game changer and a wonderful win for the countless people lobbying for poker machine reform.
“The decision by Coles to roll out safer poker machines is to its great credit and a heartening demonstration of corporate responsibility,” Mr Wilkie said.
“The decision by the poker machine industry not to cooperate with Coles is, however, more breathtaking evidence of the dreadful character of the pokies industry, and in particular its complete and utter disregard for the public interest.
“The poker machine industry harvests more than $10 billion a year from poker machine users and everyone involved is complicit including industry groups, pubs, clubs, casinos and, as we’ve just been reminded, machine manufacturers.
“Of no interest to the poker machine industry is that 40 per cent of losses can be attributed to gambling addicts, and that 15 per cent of people who use the machines weekly are addicts. The only way to reduce this harm is to implement effective measures like $1 maximum bets. Anyone standing in the way of such reform is a pariah.”