SA-Best poker machine policy is misleading voters

The Gaming Technologies Association today called Nick Xenophon’s SA-Best Party to withdraw its gaming policy after a recent decision in the Federal Court rejected two of the key claims underlying Mr Xenophon’s policy.

In the policy announcement yesterday Nick Xenophon committed SA-Best to:

“Making [poker] machines ‘con-free’ by removing misleading and deceptive features such as near misses and ‘losses disguised as wins’.”[i]

Mr Xenophon further claimed that this policy would ensure that Consumers are “protected” and can make “fully informed choices with relevant information”.[ii]

On 2 February 2018 the Federal Court of Australia completely dismissed claims of misleading and deceptive conduct and also unconscionable conduct against Crown Melbourne and Aristocrat Leisure. The ruling confirmed that Australia’s poker machines operate under a robust regulatory regime and can be enjoyed with confidence.

CEO of the Gaming Technologies Association, Ross Ferrar, said: “Our industry has been subjected to stringent legal scrutiny and has passed with flying colours.”

“However, opponents of our industry continue to rely on the very same claims that were rejected by the Federal Court. The truth is that every poker machine in operation in Australia is subject to stringent legislation, regulatory review and oversight, including in South Australia.

“Justice Mortimer conducted an open and lengthy legal process in the Federal Court and ultimately the claims made about poker machine design were emphatically rejected. I would urge Mr Xenophon to respect the findings of the Federal Court and amend his policy and withdraw his comments.”

[i] 19 February 2018, Media release: “SA-Best Gambling Reform policies will dramatically reduce pokies addiction and community harm”, SA-Best, link.

[ii] Policy Document: “Gambling Reform”, SA-Best, link.