3 Oct 2011

Problem gambling crackdown opposed

7:00 am on 3 October 2011

The hotel and clubs industry in Australia is fighting a proposed crackdown on problem gambling on poker machines.

Gambling is big business in Australia - worth $A18 billion per annum. And the biggest punt of all is the pokies.

Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent reports Australia has more one arm bandits per head of population than any other country on earth.

A report to the federal government two years ago found about 15% of pokie players are problem gamblers and these people contribute about 40% of total spending on the machines.

The Gillard government has proposed that gamblers be forced to pre-commit to losses on the high stakes machines where you can lose up to $A1200 an hour.

But clubs, pubs and big football codes are fighting back, spending $A4 million on a TV advertising campaign to defeat the reforms and pressuring MPs in marginal seats.