Xenophon moderates pokies policy

Nick Xenophon, an Australian politician and anti-gambling crusader, has modified his previously hardline approach to the pokies industry, backing away from earlier pledges to push for an all out ban in South Australia.

His party, SA Best, now plans to push for a reduction in gaming machines in its policy platform for the upcoming elections in March. He will seek to reduce the number of poker machines in hotels and clubs from about 12,100 to 8,100 by 2023 and introduce a system of $1 maximum bets per spin.

Xenophon first entered the SA parliament 20 years ago on a platform to rid the state of all poker machines and has come under fire from political opponents over his changed policy.

“I suggest to you that if SA Best is in a position of power to hold the next government to account, then both Labor and the Liberals will become born again gambling reformers in a very short amount of time,” he was cited as saying by local media.