Australians spend more per person on gambling than any other country in the world - almost double that of New Zealand.
Poker machines are the crystal meth of gambling, making up $11 billion of Australia’s total gambling losses in clubs and pubs alone.
Australians spend more money gambling than on other activities that can be addictive and dangerous including alcohol, tobacco and all illegal drugs. It is a major driver of household debt, and family and personal dysfunction.
The Australian gambling industry pocketed $21 billion dollars in the year to March 2014, largely from Australians who can least afford it. A complacent attitude to the gambling industry has resulted in few marketing, planning or technology constraints.
It’s time to tackle one of Australia’s biggest causes of inequality and hardship.
Some of our largest companies and investment funds have a vested interest in poker machine gambling. Governments want few restraints given that $5.5 billion flow into their coffers every year. This is a difficult problem to unlock. Many Australians have a stake in the future of the gambling industry through their superannuation, equity investments and participation in clubs and pubs.
Over the past twenty years this is an industry that has been unleashed on Australia, without reasonable regulatory controls or even a genuine community conversation.