Australian Gambling On Pre-Commitment Pokies: Lovers vs. Haters

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:
Australian Gambling On Pre Commitment Pokies

G'day punters, journos, high rollers - casino whales, entertainment news junkies, politicians, insiders, outsiders, legal eagles... one and all. Today we once again cover the war between the Australian government and the club and pub sector. The topic of much discussion: pub pokies aka "one armed bandits" and the "pre commitment" proposal. Media Man and Gambling911 with another "highly political" (not) report...

Gambling On Pub Pokies Gambling Pre Commitment?...

It's one of Australia's hottest political stories at the moment. At least, that's the vibe, and its getting a good run on Aussie talk back radio and inches dedicated to Australian newspaper print, not to mention the strong coverage on leading news and entertainment website portals such as Gambling911, Media Man, Crikey and 'The Shout'.

Gaming - pokie giant ALH (Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group).... you've got to love the "leisure" reference, has punished and kicked the head in (figure of speech: there were no pub fight ok punters) of the Aussie government plan requiring all gamblers to nominate how much they are prepared to lose down the throats of slots - fruit machines aka "one armed bandits" before trying their luck, starting it would have a "seriously" negative impact on most who enjoy getting on the punt pokies style.

The ALH, 75% cent owned by Woolworths, who we affectionately call 'The Fast Cash People' (satire ok guys) advised the gambling policy was "deeply politicised" and club and pub owners were being unfairly targeted while online gaming escaped regulation.

Clubs and pubs are of course land based premises on Australian soil, while online gaming and online gambling no very few boundaries, with many of the world's largest media companies, including some in Australia, covering the sector in both a media, PR, affiliate, B2B and holistic campaign capacity.

In recent years Australia's Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and a number of online news and entertainment website portals like Brisbane Times, along with The Daily Telegraph online and other Murdoch Australian online news entities have developed dedicated sections on gambling, gaming, sports betting et al, with punters and readers lapping it up. Australia's AdNews website is has also taken on ads, and James Packer's Betfair has promos on a swag of websites, and on many mainstream TV broadcasts. Yep, gambling is everywhere, and NRL team, the Penrith Panthers is tipped to soon have their footy ground renamed Centrebet Stadium, or something to that effect.

Website portals like IGN, Virgin and Media Man, are expanding out in a wide variety of domain name extensions, building brands and reach, some targeting specific geographic regions. Example: Media Man now has Media Man and well as Media Man Asia and Media Man Network, which Virgin has .ca and over 100 variations of its Virgin name, including Virgin Games, Virgin Casino and Virgin Unite. For the record Virgin is not currently accepting Australian online players from what we can gather. PartyGaming, PartyCasino, PKR, Captain Cooks, Winner, Centrebet and James Packer's Betfair appear to be some of the strongest online brands that can accept Australians (and New Zealanders), and online portals like Media Man Int list them for educational purposes, putting the information out to the world via the global medium - the internet. In many cases casino games are reviewed listing currency and language options, as well as play for free or play for money scenarios. 

To their credit, many of the media and entertainment companies featuring some gaming and igaming coverage do support a number of worthy causes, be it The Salvation Army, Virgin Unite, The Red Cross and GenerationOne, and some even making cash donations to struggling charities on the quite, not seeking fame of thanks for their good deeds.

Crown Casino, home to the Aussie Millions has an online presence, and has conducted B2B with the likes of PartyGaming, where the current champion is an Australian who learned how to play online with Party's online poker brand. Crown over the past few years have got into bed somewhat with online poker firms, accepting "online poker satellite qualifiers", where players play on online websites, with the some of the best players winning seats to the land based poker tournaments.

Back to the politics of pub pokies, much of the fuss relates to the Australian government broken promise to the Australian clubs and pubs sector, while pandering to the wish list of a certain well known Australian senator. Many media commentators in Australia said the senators demands (for securing his vote), accounted to a version of blackmail! Strong allegations, and these were carried in about a dozen different media outlets down under in Australia. The policy itself was a mammoth clash with the Productivity Commission's view - policy on the run...a deal struck between the independent... get read for the name... MP Andrew Wilkie and the federal government. In exchange for Wilkie's support, the government promised a "full pre-commitment scheme" for poker machines by 2014, igniting a war of words and public backlash from the powerful pubs and clubs sector, with Wilkie being shouted out of a few meetings with regional clubs, with Australian pensioners being some of the most upset, distressed and basically, pissed off, wanting the Aussie Labor Government thrown out of office.

The ALH Group outlined in its submission to a parliamentary inquiry, the government's policy would probably be ineffective and would basically force substantially higher costs on pub owners, clients, associates and suppliers.

A lengthy Productivity Commission inquiry recommended "full pre-commitment" by 2016, and the ALH and others pushed for more research.

The ALH is the proud operation of in excess of 12,000 pokies aka "one armed bandits" and 286 pubs. They are king! Pushing for a voluntary pre-commitment, ALH advised problem gamblers would still find a way to bet online where the internet has few boundaries, where less regulations applied. Online brands such as PartyGaming, PartyCasino, Captain Cooks, Centrebet and Betfair are well known, trusted, ethical and popular with Australians and New Zealanders, with punters not so keen to try out other lesser known brands.

Senator Nick Xenophon, an anti-poker machine "hater" (not lover), pointed the finger at Woolworths 'The Fast Cash People' (satire) of trying to defend the indefensible.

The submission ignored "overwhelming evidence" that a pre-commitment scheme would help reduce problem gambling, Senator Xenophon said, likening its stance to big tobacco firms denying the dangers of smoking. The question and claim is being investigated with some journalists not so sure it was "overwhelming evidence" with some saying it was clever spin, backed by "junk science" coming out of some Australian universities known for their dislike of the gaming and gambling sector.

'Mr X' (satire) added "The irony is there are people who cannot afford to buy food from a Woolworths supermarket because they are blowing their money on a Woolworths poker machine".

Senator Xenophon and other anti-pokies groups convinced Woolworths last year to keep children away from its poker machines. Woolworths made $176.7 million in pre-tax profits from its hotels division last financial year. The pub baron Bruce Mathieson owns the remaining 25 per cent of ALH.

The parliamentary inquiry will hold public hearings in capital cities next month.

Many Aussie based legal eagles such as Jamie Nettleton from Addisons are expecting strong business this year, as the legal complexities of online vs offline, website portals vs casinos, affiliate programs, PR VS news and campaigns et al, continue to get looked at. Our friend Nettleton has already gone on record that many Australian laws are outdated and do not basically cover or apply to the global medium that is the world wide web. Nettleton is recommending more regulations, which in turn will help better protect consumers, and well as help with taxation laws and other business functions, resulting in a win - win - win.

Australian Land Based Casinos VS Land Based Pokie Palaces: Australian Casinos List...

Punters, we know your just begging to get your current Australian land based casino hotspots back on file, many of which are massive tourist attractions, so here it is...

New South Wales

Star City Casino (Sydney)


Crown Casino (Melbourne)


Conrad Treasury Casino (Brisbane)

Jupiters Hotel & Casino (Gold Coast)

Jupiters Townsville Casino (Townsville)

The Reef Hotel Casino (Cairns)

South Australia

Skycity Adelaide (Adelaide)

Western Australia

Burswood Entertainment Complex aka Burswood Casino (Perth)


Wrest Point Hotel Casino (Hobart)

Country Club Casino (Launceston)

Australian Capital Territory

Casino Canberra (Canberra)

Northern Territory

Lasseters Hotel Casino (Alice Springs)

Skycity Darwin (formerly MGM Grand Casino) (Darwin)

Media Man International Profile On Australia

Tobacco Industry VS Government Wars: Australian Sinners Key Target...

The tobacco industry has launched a fresh and "backdoor" type attack on legislation to make plain packaging of cigarettes compulsory, using a regional FTO (free trade agreement) to which Australia is expected to sign up to. Tobacco giant Philip Morris has used Australia's plain-packaging laws, set to come into effect next year, to debate the need for "investor state" provisions in the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. This would basically facilitate  companies to sue member governments if they pass legislation curtailing business activities! Thomas Faunce, an Australian Research Council future fellow at the Australian National University, called on the federal government to resist the inclusion of investor state provisions in the agreement. He said the provisions duplicated ground that had already been covered in the 2005 Australia-US free trade pact. "Australia can rebut such attempts on the basis that they reopen the (free trade agreement) negotiations where an investor-state clause was expressly excluded," Associate Professor Faunce wrote in a critique published today in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Negotiations on the trade agreement - between the US, Australia, New Zealand and six South American and south-east Asian countries - intensified last year and are expected to be completed in September. In a submission on the proposed trade agreement to the US trade representative, Philip Morris cited Australia's plain-packaging laws among "initiatives of concern".

The company said it supported laws to reduce any harm caused by tobacco, but opposed "extreme and disproportionate regulation … which has the effect of violating international law and expropriating intellectual property rights". Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney, said the company's stance was consistent with the tobacco industry's history of attempting to use trade agreements to defeat individual countries' health laws. "It's yet another sign of the degree to which the industry will go to to defeat and delay any measure that will actually work (to cut smoking rates)" he said. The World Trade Organisation's Uruguay Round had established the right of countries "to put health considerations above international trade considerations". Patricia Ranald, of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, which advises on human rights, and the environment, said Australia would receive little export benefit from the treaty because the free trade agreement was already in place. "What we want to say to our government is that we should negotiate about trade issues but not about social policies," Dr Ranald said. Craig Emerson, the Minister for Trade, would not commit on excluding investor-state provisions from the trade pact, saying he was not prepared to make policy on the run.

But he said Philip Morris would be "whistling in the wind" if it tried to undermine national anti-tobacco laws. The tobacco industry ie: smoking, has long been linked to other industries such as gambling (where punters often chase land based pokies where smoking is allowed), the sex and fetish industry, fashion (models smoke instead of eat correctly, not to put on weight) and motorsport (especially F1), but exposure of tobacco products on cars has been massively reduced - more than halved, over the past 5 years, with energy drinks like Red Bull picking up some of the slack.

Take the time to research and learn games before placing down money

Media Man href=" Casino News Media and Gambling911 are website portals. Not casinos as such, however are recognised as world leading websites that cover the sector and act as central points to games, news, reviews and more.

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Tell us in the forum. 

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

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