Sunday, September 25, 2011

Clubs back NRL-AFL pokies campaign - 25th September 2011


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The clubs industry is backing rugby league and the AFL's alliance to campaign against the federal government's poker machine reforms.

The NRL and the AFL are planning to run television advertisements against mandatory pre-commitment during Grand Final week.

Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball said he welcomed the decision of the two rival codes to speak out against the technology being demanded by independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

"Millions of Australians are AFL and rugby league fans," he said in a statement.

"By backing Andrew Wilkie's demand for mandatory pre-commitment, the federal government is directly attacking the ability of clubs across the country to support AFL and rugby league teams."

Mr Ball said no sporting club would escape the "massive financial hit" of the mandatory pre-commitment regime, which Mr Wilkie wants implemented by 2014.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou and individual club presidents are meeting on Monday to map out campaign strategies.

New Ltd reports Mr Demetriou has held talks with Families Minister Jenny Macklin, who would have carriage of the pokies legislation, along with Sports Minister Mark Arbib and Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten.

It added that 25 Labor MPs had threatened to vote against the plan in Caucus.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has described mandatory pre-commitment as a "footy tax".

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) president Ged Kearney said the government should be allowed to implement its pokies reforms.

She said although Clubs Australia was arguing there could be job losses, the harmful effects of problem gambling on peoples' lives should not be downplayed.

"I think let the reforms be implemented, monitor them closely and see what happens," she said.

"I'm sure we can help workers and businesses from an adverse impact as we go along."

Ms Kearney said the policy allowing people to set their own gambling limits was sensible.

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