Andrew is a strong advocate for poker machine reform. Of the 600,000 Australians who play poker machines weekly, 15 per cent are problem gamblers. They lose almost $5 billion each year, a staggering figure pointing to the scale of the tragedy associated with poker machines. Problem gamblers routinely lose everything including their jobs, family and friends, homes, minds and sometimes even their lives.
After the 2010 election, Andrew negotiated a deal with Prime Minister Julia Gillard for mandatory pre-commitment on all poker machines. In 2012, the Prime Minister reneged on the deal and Andrew withdrew his support for the Government. Andrew then negotiated improvements to the Government’s watered-down poker machine reforms. He was critical when the Abbott Government repealed these reforms with the support of Labor. Andrew continues to push for reform and recently introduced a Bill to implement, among other things, the Productivity Commission’s recommendations of $1 bets and mandatory pre-commitment.
Andrew is critical of the Labor and Liberal parties for accepting donations from the pokies industry and argues State Governments are among the worst pokies addicts of all due to their reliance on gambling taxes. He has also been an outspoken critic of the Tasmanian Government’s monopoly deal with Federal Hotels.
Andrew is critical of the rapid proliferation of online gambling and pushes for federal reform to curb predatory gambling websites.
Andrew was chair of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform which conducted inquiries into online gambling and other matters in 2011 and 2013.