Birth of a Lobby?

18 July 2000
Members of the casino industry (both online and offline) have united to form a new group with a mission, according to Chief Executive Vicki Flannery, of providing better services to a "gambling nation."

The Australian Gaming Council is said to be organized similar to the way the Business Council of Australia--a group for which Flannery served as assistant director--is organized. Members of the new group include Crown Ltd, NSW TAB Ltd, Victoria's Tabcorp and others.

Another stated purpose of the council is to counteract the formidable anti-gambling movement Down Under--a movement led by Prime Minister John Howard, who says that he is "ashamed" of the great popularity of gambling in his country and calls it a "social evil." One third of those who gamble in Australia are said to be "problem gamblers." The Gaming Council hopes to promote responsible gaming and to offset the presence of those who are against gaming in all its forms.

The council, which hopes to hold regular meetings and work closely with government and community groups, was scheduled to be set up at the end of last year, but was late in forming due to disagreements among founding members.

Organizations that elected not to participate in the council include the NSW branch of the Australian Hotels Association, the Federal Group, and the Australian Casino Association.