Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared that while she does not support a statewide ban on pokies, she would like to see fewer machines in operation in the future.
Gamblers in the Sunshine State have spent more and more on pokie games every year since 2010, culminating in a record $2.4 billion loss in 2018.
There are growing calls for gaming machines to be phased out of Queensland’s pubs and clubs, most notably from Greens MP Michael Berkman.
However, Premier Palaszczuk is more concerned about how the government deals with the inevitable transition from on-site play to online gambling.
“It is about how you keep up with that technology,” she said.
“I would actually like to see in the future that we actually have less pokies in Queensland.
“I think we’re all aware that there are some issues associated with people who do get addicted to gambling and we do have funding set aside for that.”
Palaszczuk’s refusal to commit to a total ban on pokies is not surprising when her administration has shown plenty of support for the casino industry.
Construction is already underway on a new gaming and entertainment complex at Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane, while there are plans for a second casino on the Gold Coast.
However, the Premier said she was hoping to green light the proposed Southport casino without increasing the net amount of poker machines in operation.
That could mean reducing the number of pokies allowed at other licensed gaming venues, which stands at 24,705 in clubs and 19,500 in pubs.
Tim Costello, leader of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, wants Queensland to further restrict pokies numbers and also reduce maximum bets, shorten trading hours and amplify the authority of local councils.
“Imagine how many more jobs and economic activity could be generated if $2.4 billion a year wasn’t being wasted on thoroughly unproductive poker machines,” he told reporters this week.
Pokies generate hundreds of millions in tax revenue for state governments, with Queensland pocketing $718 million in 2017-18.
More Australian gambling news
Woolworths reveals plans to offload ALH Group pokies venues
Bowing to criticism over the company's involvement in the gambling industry, Woolworths is planning to combine its pokies, hotels and bottle shops into a single...
Pokies under fire in Brimbank after record $139.5m loss
The City of Brimbank is set to introduce tough new measures for local gaming operators after the council's residents lost a state-high $139.5 million on...
City of Darebin taking VCAT to court over RSL pokies ruling
The City of Darebin is taking VCAT to the Supreme Court after the tribunal backed a Preston RSL club's plan to bring in 15 additional...
Gold Coast Star chasing $43 million from fleeing Singapore high-roller
A Singapore high roller took skipping payment to a whole new level last year, leaving The Gold Coast Star without paying a $43 million gambling...
SKYCITY Darwin sale to Delaware North finalised and official for $188m
SKYCITY Darwin has officially changed hands to Delaware North after the sale of the top end casino resort was finalised yesterday. We look at what...
Latest online casino promotions
Grab up to 100 free spins every Wednesday at Kahuna Casino
Find out how you can score up to 100 free spins on Boomanji, Fruit Zen, Mega Gems and more online pokies games this Wednesday when...
Get up to 100 free spins every Monday at Mucho Vegas Casino
Needs a little something extra to get you through Monday? Find out how you can score up to 100 free spins by playing your favourite...
Score a 25% bonus match every week of August at Emu Casino
Emu Casino's latest monthly promotion gives punters the chance to claim a 25% deposit match every week of August. Read on to find out more.
Choose your reward with Joka Room’s Saturday Swagger bonus
Looking for a little something extra this weekend? Joka Room is offering a choice between not one, not two, but three exclusive bonus offers this...
June Cashback Streak bonus refunds at Emu Casino
Need a cure for those winter blues? Emu Casino has the cure with deposit matches, bet rebates and loss refunds every week for the month...