Michelle Lensink

Fears pokie losses will be fuelled by cash handouts

Shadow Gambling Minister Michelle Lensink says the Rann Government needs to step in to prevent people punting their $900 cash handout from Kevin Rudd’s stimulus package.

“These cash handouts could well be set to go straight to the State Government coffers and bank accounts of pokie venue operators,’’ Ms Lensink said.

“The Concerned Sector in Adelaide has already warned that people are more likely to gamble their money in tough economic times in a vain hope of scoring a win.

“The Rann Government should heed those warnings and demonstrate a social conscience, having raked in more than $285m last year in taxes from losses on poker machines.

“It is time for the Premier to demonstrate a social conscience and protect workers and their families from letting pokies devour their shrinking disposable incomes.

“Premier Rann needs to show leadership on this matter and ramp up education initiatives to make people think twice about spending on gambling away these handouts.”

Ms Lensink said pokie losses in SA reached $737.89 last year, equivalent to an average profit of $58,001 a machine.

Of the money lost on poker machines in 2008, $285.37 million was paid to the State Government in taxes and $452.52 went to the venues.

“Now that we know the cash handouts will go-ahead we can only hope that the economic vandalism of the Rudd Government won’t be compounded by the State Government’s social irresponsibility,’’ Ms Lensink said.

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