Xenophon’s View on Pokies Changes from Total Ban to Reduce By a Third
It wasn’t that long ago that the famously anti-gambling politician supported a full ban on the local version of a slot machine. Then he backed away from that stance and said he’d given up on the ban entirely. This week, however, he’s shifted his view once again and says he supports a package of anti-gambling legislation that includes reducing the number of pokies by a third.
The shifting sands under Xenophon’s feet are moving so fast that even other politicians are calling out his hypocrisy. In a statement to the Guardian, Liberal Party leader Steven Marshal ripped into Xenophon saying:
This is the most astonishing backflip, I think, in electoral history in South Australia. He was a ‘no-pokies MP’ now he is an ‘8,000-pokies MP’ … a guy that has sold out on his single-principle policy position.
Other anti-gambling measures proposed by Xenophon in his latest outing include reducing the maximum wager on a pokie to just $1, as well as an effort to subsidize small businesses that lose pokies through a “buyback scheme.” Unfortunately, Xenophon did not provide details about how the buyback would work or how much it might cost taxpayers. Xenophon also admitted that he really didn’t know those amounts anyways.
A spokesman for the Australian Hotels Association said that the effort to cut the number of pokies by a third would be devastating to the pub and hotel industry and would result in many smaller pubs having to shutter their doors entirely.