Senate Calls for a National Register of Pokie Owners
The Senate in Australia has requested that a national register of poker machine owners is set up in order to allow the public to identify all owners of poker machines. The motion, by independent senator Jacqui Lambie, called on the Turnbull government to work with the states and territories to compile the list.
The motion was backed by the upper house on Tuesday. The register that is being suggested would allow all members of the public, including the media, to identify any person, company or group that owns poker machines or holds a poker machine license. This would be a national register covering all of the states and territories in Australia.
Poker machines have been legal in Australia since 1956 when NSW became the first state to allow them. These were followed in 1976 by the ACT, then by Victoria and Queensland in 1991. Tasmania followed in 1997 and finally they were legalised in the Northern Territory in 1998. In Western Australia, pokies are only legal in the casino.
NSW has continued its love affair with poker machines and out of the 196,900 poker machines around the country, more than 95,000 can be found in NSW. The rest of them can be found around the country with 46,600 in Queensland and 28,800 in Victoria.
There has been much debate about poker machines in Australia and the prevalence of problem gambling. In 2013-14, Australians lost $11 billion on poker machines in pubs and clubs and an additional $1.5 billion on poker machines in casinos.
Poker machine reform is popular at the moment with groups calling for mandatory pre-commitment technology on all machines, and now a call for all owners of poker machines to be registered on a national list.
April 16, 2017