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In a recent survey, 9 out of 10 politicians agreed that accepting donations from the gambling lobby is a surefire way to increase their chances of winning elections.
“It’s a win-win situation,” said one anonymous politician. “We get the money we need to fund our campaigns, and the gambling industry gets a seat at the table when it comes to shaping policy.”
Indeed, the gambling lobby has been on a hot streak in recent years, with donations pouring in from big players like Tabcorp and Sportsbet. And why wouldn’t they? After all, these companies have a vested interest in making sure that regulations don’t get in the way of their bottom line.
But it’s not just about the money. As one lobbyist put it, “We like to think of ourselves as more than just donors. We’re advisors, really. We help these politicians navigate the complex world of gambling policy. And in return, they help us make sure that our interests are protected.”
And protect their interests they have. Self-exclusion registers, advertising restrictions, and other measures designed to curb problem gambling have been consistently watered down or delayed, thanks in part to the lobbying efforts of the gambling industry.
But hey, who needs regulations when you can have a good old-fashioned punt, right? And with politicians in their corner, the gambling lobby is sitting pretty. It’s enough to make you wonder who’s really running the country.
While the above article may be satirical in nature, it is unfortunately not too far from the truth. The gambling lobby has long been accused of using its vast financial resources to influence politicians and policies in its favor, and recent events have only served to reinforce these concerns.
Last month, March 2023, it was revealed that the Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland had accepted nearly $19,000 in donations from gambling giant Sportsbet ahead of the 2022 elections. This news was met with outrage from some politicians and community groups, who argued that it represented a clear conflict of interest.
Furthermore, the Joint Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs is currently conducting an inquiry into online gambling, which has highlighted many of the same concerns.
It is clear that there is a need for greater transparency and regulation in the gambling industry, as well as more scrutiny over the relationship between politicians and lobbyists. Until this happens, it seems that the gambling lobby will continue to hold a disproportionate amount of influence over our political system.
Written by: Alex Aliheim
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