As day three of the election campaign in South Australia kicked off, Nick Xenophon, the leader of the SA-BEST, officially revealed his gambling policy.
The topic dominated over the day, with Mr. Xenophon sharing his view that the reforms were both “a deal-maker and a deal-breaker” in case of his party wins the elections in South Australia in March.
As revealed by the SA-BEST party leader, the gambling reform package presented featured a number of measures, including reducing the number of pokies available in clubs and hotels across the state. Nick Xenophon shared that the proposed measures will see the number of poker machines situated in South Australian hotels and clubs reduced from 12,100 to 8,100 by 2023. In addition, a change is also set to be introduced in the stakes featured by such machines, with the maximum bet per spin set to amount to AU$1.
According to the SA-BEST leader, implementing such a gambling reform package is a sensible thing to do. He called the reforms a “key negotiating plank” and said he expected to get support for the measures, if his party wins balance of power at the elections set for March 17th.
In addition, SA-BEST has also included another proposal in its gambling reform package. Nick Xenophon political party proposes the access to electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) near pokies to be removed. The party also calls for all donations made by the gambling industry operators to local political parties to be suspended.
Also, a so-called buy-back scheme would also be introduced in order to support over 140 venues which feature a maximum of 10 poker machines. The leader of the SA-BEST party further revealed that no modelling has been dome in order to see what taxes would be imposed to taxpayers to fund the package.
Xenophon’s Gambling Policy Faces Criticism
Steven Marshall, the opposition leader in South Australia, not only rejected the change of entering a deal with SA-BEST in order to form a government, but also criticised the gambling reform policy saying that it did not correspond to some of the core principles of Mr. Xenophon. Marshall called the presented gambling regulatory measures “the most astonishing backflip” in the entire electoral history of the state.
Mr. Xenophon entered the parliament of South Australia two decades ago after unveiling a strategy to ban all poker machines on the territory of the state and has then suffered a lot of criticism from his political opponents over the changes he had made in his policy. According to Mr. Marshall, the leader of SA-BEST has made a compromise with his principles and let down people who once voted for him.
Steven Marshall, on the other hand, said that no change in the overall number of poker machines in South Australia was proposed by the Liberal Party. Premier Jay Weatherill decided not to make direct comments on the policy of MR. Xenophon, but revealed that his Government remains focused on reducing the harm which gambling had on society and communities.