27th May 2004


Budget 2004/2005: Government trumpets its ‘anti-gambling policies’ leading to a reduction in the long-term rate of growth in pokies taxes from 5.5% to 5%



· Despite all the chest thumping about gambling reform, the Government’s pokies revenue will increase $22 million to $302 million next financial year.


No Pokies MLC Nick Xenophon has accused the State Government of paying “lip service” to gambling law reform with the Budget Papers showing that the State Government is still the State’s “number one jackpot junkie” with gambling taxes for 2004/2005 estimated at $405 million - with 75% being derived from pokies – with the rate of growth of pokies taxes at 8% for the coming financial year.


Mr. Xenophon also criticised the amount going to gamblers rehabilitation of $3.3 million – equivalent to 0.81% of the Government tax take – as being “a pittance in tackling the harm caused by gambling addiction”.


“When you consider that $1.5 million for gamblers rehabilitation comes from the industry – this means the percentage of Government revenue going to assist gamblers is a pathetic 0.44 % of gambling taxes”.


Mr. Xenophon said gambling taxes now make up 14.6% of State tax receipts.


Mr. Xenophon said the “black and white figures” in the Budget Papers were in stark contrast to the Premier’s letter to all MPs on gambling reform recently where the Premier stated:


“The Government is committed to addressing problem gambling”.


“It seems the measure of the Government’s commitment only goes as far as reducing the long term rate of growth in pokies taxes from 5.5% to 5% - big deal”.


Mr. Xenophon called on the Government to adopt “real gambling reform measures” (in addition to the proposed 20% cut in pokies numbers) including:


·                Banning smoking in pokies venues immediately.

·                Removing ATMs from pokies venues and the Casino premises.

·                Slowing the rate of play of pokies by 90%.

·                Banning loyalty schemes and inducements.


Written and authorised by Nick Xenophon, 653 Lower North East Road, Paradise, SA 5075