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Australia gripped by addiction to poker machines

Australia gripped by addiction to poker machines

A recent report by the Australia Institute has brought to light Australia’s addition to poker machines. The survey makes the revelation on the concentration of poker machines, finding – more machines are located in Australia than in any other country.

About 80% of the world’s poker machines are in positioned at gambling venues, such as casinos. The total poker machines in non-gaming venues worldwide account to 241,000. It is not the case with Australia; the poker machines at non-gaming venues across the country were found to be 183,000.

The co-author of the report, Bill Browne pinpoints that Australia makes 0.3 percent of the world’s population, although the country has 6 percent of its gaming machines and 18 percent poker machines. He added that poker machines being allowed in pubs and clubs make Australia stand out. The reports suggests 226 out of 238 countries do not have any pokies in pubs and clubs.

Browne compared Australia to the popular gaming destinations of the world, saying Australia is right up there with casino-states like Monaco, Macau and Caribbean island nations when it comes to the gaming machines per person.

Earlier, Tasmania’s opposition Labor party has pledged a policy to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs in the state by 2023 if it comes to power. Rebecca White of the political party said that they would take off 2,300 poker machines from venues to restrain their “devastating effect on the natives of Tasmania”. If it happens, Tasmania would become only the second state to rid of Poker, after Western Australia.

The report highlights that Tasmania has more poker machines than Italy, Netherlands and India combined. Tasmanians lost $110m on poker machines in pubs and clubs in the last financial year. In terms of revenue, poker machines contribute a meager 1 percent to the state’s revenue.

Labor party has also announced that it would provide a $55m package for venues and businesses to voluntarily retire the machines before 2023. Several community groups and anti-pokies campaigners have welcomed the move.