18 Apr 2011

Gambling industry taking on Australian government

7:03 am on 18 April 2011

The Australian government is at war with the gambling industry.

Australia has more poker machines per head than any other country in the world. And state governments are heavily dependent on 'pokie' taxes.

A report commissioned by the federal government found the risks of problem gambling are much higher with poker machines, with a total social cost of $A4.7 billion per year.

Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent says the Gillard government holds power partly because of a Green MP whose support depends on Labor passing legislation requiring people to pre-commit to their 'pokie' losses.

This has triggered a $A20 million campaign by the industry calling the reform 'unAustralian' and amounting to 'a licence to punt'.

It's also put into question revenue forecasts for listed gaming groups like Tabcorp and Crown.