Life is pretty good for the poker machine industry at the moment.
Australians lose more per head gambling than any other citizens and
poker machines are the preferred playing option. Indeed, the value of
NSW hotels has rocketed since the Carr Government
allowed pokies into pubs back in 1997. Since that time, NSW hotels have
enjoyed an estimated $10.4 billion in gross income from the 24,000
machines they’ve installed and the NSW Hotels
Association has made the following donations to the Sussex Street

1999-00: $7000
2000-01: $35,000
2001-02: $45,000
2002-03: $137,000
2003-04: $76,000
2004-05: $245,000

Any suggestion that the ALP has a moral problem with gambling should be
dismissed by looking at what is happening in Canberra at the moment.
Not content with running 225 poker machines at the Canberra Labor Club and 63 at the Weston Creek Labor Club, the bruvvas are opening up a new venue called the City Labor Club which will have 50 machines and they are expanding the Ginninderra Labor Club from 80 machines to 95 in October.

The pokies industry must be delighted to see the ALP directly addicted
to pokies to help fund its political activities because that means it
won’t have the moral fortitude to clamp down on the rest of the

NSW Hotels boss John Thorpe (second from left) is certainly looking quite fresh these days after a
rough trot with his health earlier this year. This photo is from the recent six
day trip to Hawaii for the annual AHA (NSW) Conference. Hawaii was a strange
place for such a pokies-addicted industry to visit because it has no casinos, no poker
machines, and even bingo and raffles are considered illegal!

Then again, it wasn’t exactly a work trip as the six days of
activity only included four hours of formal business sessions. When
your industry is swimming in cash from problem gamblers and you have
the NSW Government in your pocket, who needs to worry about business

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey