Greens stake gambling machine reform demands

The Greens party pledged to demand changes in gambling machine policy if it holds the balance of power in the federal Senate after the country’s upcoming election. The party is seeking to lower maximum betting limits to A$1 betting limit and cap jackpots at A$500. Senator Richard Di Natale says he is hopeful that the new prime minister “whether that be Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull” will introduce reforms to tackle problem gambling as he said the machines are “ripping out A$5 billion from the national economy” and breaking up families. The Greens are expected to hold at least six Senate seats after the election. Gambling machine spending in Victoria reached a seven-year low of A$2.49 billion in the year that ended June 30, down 6.9 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, 107 clubs and pubs have surrendered their gambling machine rights to Victoria because they have been unable to keep up payments for licenses bought at auction in 2010, the Herald Sun reported. The newspaper reported that some clubs and pubs have been forced to close over the debts.