Last week there was quite a bit of media coverage around some pretty dodgy goings on within some of the pokie trusts. It’s time for the government to get stuck in and clean this mess up once and for all. The Gambling Act of 2003 was a step in the right direction, but there is still a way to go. Under the Act, the profits from pokie machines have to go back into the community for charitable purposes, but there are still too many rorts.
Recent revelations that gaming machine proceeds have been used to renovate a pokie room in a strip club, fund lavish meals in fancy restaurants, and encourage gaming venues to switch from one Trust to another prove the point pretty clearly. It’s time to put much more stringent requirements around how the money can be spent so that as much as possible goes back into local community groups and clubs. Times are tough and they really need the money.
Both the current Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy and his predecessor Richard Worth acknowledged the problem. It’s time for them to do something about it. They could start by progressing the Gambling Amendment Act currently on the Order Paper and taking a close look at some of the amendments our Green colleague Kevin Hague has put forward. Doing nothing isn’t an option.