After months of fighting against poker machine reform, Clubs Australia can finally back away from the causes. The organization, which represents poker machine operators from across the country, was vehemently opposed to Andrew Wilkie’s pokie reform plan. It’s decision to campaign against the reform was not only based on the fact that it would damage the businesses of pubs and gaming clubs; it was also deemed to be an ineffective approach to curbing problem gambling rates in Australia.
Now that Julia Gillard has finally been convinced that poker machine reform is not a good idea, Clubs Australia has decided to back off. Gillard, who previously promised to implement the reform to please MP Andrew Wilkie, recently reneged, as most of the Australian public did not support pokie reform.
That is likely to be Clubs Australia’s doing. The organization invested millions of dollars in an anti-reform campaign. Over the months, Clubs Australia gained the support of millions of residents and even several anti-gambling groups like the Salvation Army.
Clubs Australia seems to have accomplished its goal – but is this the end of the fight? The organization backed the idea of introducing education and counselling programs to fight pokie reform, so it will be interesting to see if it sticks to its guns.