The Coalition has made problem gambling a key platform in the last few days before the Victorian state election, promising to set up a body to tackle the issue if it is elected to form government.
Paying for Protection
The proposed Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation would cost $150 million over four years and would be tasked with researching and administering support for service for addicted gamblers.
Labor recently promised to provide an extra $125 million in funding for problem gamblers if voters return it to government in the November 27 election, but Coalition gaming spokesman Michael O'Brien said the opposition's proposal would ensure more transparency.
"This new and independent body will have its own legislative mandate," O'Brien said, adding that the problem with placing the issue under government control was that the government was conflicted by its own need for gambling revenue.
Gambling on the Ballot
Gambling is a huge industry in Victoria, where its taxes account for some 10% of the state's tax revenue. It is therefore no surprise that gambling has again been one of the prominent issues in this current election campaign, along with other timely issues such as cleaning up government advertising and corruption, and fixing problems in government schools.
The election looked set to go down to the wire just days out from voting, with Coalition leader Ted Baillieu trailing Labour's John Brumby by a narrow margin in the polls.