Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Victoria’s Dismal Record on Problem Gambling

On the eve of Friday’s Ministerial Council on Gambling, the Commonwealth’s representative on the Council, Senator Amanda Vanstone, expressed her surprise at the Victorian Gaming Minister’s hypocrisy over the serious issue of problem gambling.

“Victoria has one of the worst records in Australia on problem gambling. When a state receives gambling revenue in the order of $1.5 billion, it is disgraceful that it only spends around $7 million on services to help problem gamblers,” said Senator Vanstone.

“Victoria also has the second highest per capita expenditure on gambling of $983 per person. It has nearly 30,000 poker machines in the state. Yet all the Victorian Minister for Gambling, Mr Pandazopolous, can do is take hypocritical and unjustified pot-shots at the Commonwealth.

“After the Productivity Commission’s Report on Gambling made it clear that the states couldn’t and wouldn’t work together on problem gambling, the Commonwealth moved quickly to set up a Ministerial Council to ensure a co-ordinated national approach.

“The Commonwealth has also moved decisively to limit the growth of interactive gambling. So Mr Pandazopolous is merely playing politics on a very serious social issue.

“I also note that Victoria has back flipped on the proposed $4000 pokie tax. The Bracks Government appears to have caved in after intense lobbying from the gambling industry. They have accepted a per machine amount that is way below the amount recommended by the Harvey Report on Business Taxes.

“I am looking forward to working with the states tomorrow in a co-operative fashion but Mr Pandazopolous should understand that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”