As the Alliance for Gambling Reform noted yesterday, gamblers have now saved an estimated $1.5 billion since Australia’s nearly 200,000 poker machines were shut down on March 23.

The earliest reopening for the industry, which extracts a staggering $14 billion a year from gamblers, is likely to be in Northern Territory pubs on May 15.

The politically powerful industry is pushing for an early return in other states too in what will be an interesting test of the lobbying ability of pubs, clubs and casinos.