5 July 2005



·   Opportunity to slash gambling addiction spurned by  Government hooked on pokies taxes


No Pokies MLC Nick Xenophon is “furious” that the State Government has dismissed out of hand recommendations of the Independent Gambling Authority to implement smart-card technology for the State’s almost 16,000 poker machines (including machines in the Casino).

Mr Xenophon, with the support of the Opposition and Crossbench MPs, successfully moved an amendment to last year’s pokies legislation to require the IGA to provide a report on “how smart-card technology might be implemented with a view to significantly reducing problem gambling”.

The Authority’s report, tabled in Parliament today, recommended sweeping changes to the State’s multi- billion dollar pokies industry by introducing smart-card technology – the first scheme of its type anywhere in the world.

The Authority recommended that legislation should be introduced into Parliament for the implementation of a mandatory system that would enable the tracking of a person’s play, the setting of limits and exclusion of play.

Mr Xenophon said that the Government’s excuses to spurn the recommendations, through the statement made in Parliament by Gambling Minister, Michael Wright, were “pathetic”.

The Government hides behind the excuse that the costs of a smart-card scheme are ‘unknown and the benefits are unproven’.   What is ‘known’ and ‘proven’ is that over 23,000 South Australian have a pokies problem with each affecting the lives of 7 others and that over 40% of pokies losses come from problem gamblers.”

The Minister’s excuses fly in the face of the IGA stating that the technical capability to support smart-cards exist, and is commercially feasible.”

 “The Government goes on about the costs of a smart-card system – what about the devastating cost of gambling addiction in our State?  The Government is more interested in protecting the almost $1 million a day it gets in pokies taxes and the vested interested of the pokies barons who would no doubt be horrified at the revenue implications of an effective smart-card scheme.

Mr Xenophon vowed to introduce legislation in the spring session of Parliament to implement the Independent Gambling Authority’s recommendations.  He challenged the Government (and Opposition) to give its MPs a conscience vote on this issue.

 “Short of getting rid of poker machines, smart-card technology, properly implemented, has enormous potential to slash levels of problem gambling in this State.


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