Australian Greens Party Want Pubs Without Pokies in Five Years

Australia's Greens Party is fighting for the removal of electronic gaming machines (pokies) from pubs and clubs within five years.

The Australian Greens Party wants pokies banned from pubs and clubs within five years. The left-wing political party is fighting for a blanket ban on electronic gaming machines throughout the country.

Pokies have long been a subject of debate in Australia and globally. They are a huge source of entertainment for Australians in addition to generating massive revenues for the pubs, clubs, hotels, and casinos that run them. Aussies in New South Wales lost $2.17 billion to pokies from June to November 2020. That is an increase of 7% from the same period in 2019. Indeed, the 2020 figures include several COVID-19-related closures of venues.

The New South Wales arm of the Greens Party is fighting to remove pokies from pubs in the state. Its aim is to eradicate the machines from pubs and clubs within the next five years. The Green party argues NSW loses more money per person to gambling than anywhere else globally purely because of the number of pokies in the state.

Green Party boffins devised an eight-step plan to remove pokies from NSW pubs and clubs. It claims the package will save the state’s residents a whopping $7 billion over five years. In addition, Greens Party has plans for the removal of pokies from all other venues within ten years.

Greens Party Continues Fight For Responsible Gambling

Pokies are the main focus of the Greens Party battle right now, although other forms of gambling are in their crosshairs. For example, it wants a blanket ban on gambling advertisements on public transport and at sporting events. Banning adverts, it says, prevents an increase in problem gambling. Problem gamblers doubled from 2010 to 2019 but only make up 1.23% of the population.

Australia makes up less than half a percent of the world’s population. However, more than 20% of the world’s pokies are spread around the country, including 100,000 in New South Wales.

It is not only NSW that the Greens Party is battling because it has its eyes set on reforming pokies in the Australian Central Territory (ACT). The party already works with the ACT government but is keen on implementing more measures.

“As part of our commitment to reduce gambling harm in our community, the ACT Government has committed to lower the bet limit on ACT poker machines from $10 to $5 and to introduce a $1 load-up limit.”

“Reducing the bet limit to $5 will halve the amount of money a person could theoretically spend and lose in one hour of play from $12,000 to $6,000. Currently, ACT law does not set a credit limit for pokies operating in the ACT. In practice, ACT pokies have a credit limit of either $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000.”

Figures from 2018-19 show ACT players spent almost $2 billion on pokies. Venues hosting the pokies retained $166.9 million after paying winnings.

Will A Pokies Ban Happen?

A ban on pokies in pubs and clubs is unlikely at best, although you should never say never. The Green Party is not the first political party to take this stance, nor will it be the last. However, previous attempts have all fallen flat because of one thing: money.

Pokies generate huge revenue for the venues that host them. Those venues often rely on the income from the machines, too. The Greens Party and other campaigners fail to realise a vital cog in the gaming machine. Local and national governments make a hell of a lot of money from pokies taxation.

The Australian government receives over $6 billion of gaming tax annually from gambling companies. This figure includes table games and sports betting, but pokies tax makes up a huge chunk of it. There is no way on this planet a government cut this revenue stream regardless of pressures faced.