I welcome the Liberals joining the Greens in having a policy of fewer pokies (The Age, 24/7/2006). However, the raw number of machines is not the issue, it's the profitablity of the industry. As long as two or three big businesses (and the state) can make abnormal profits (and taxes) by milking the punters, we'll have inadequate policies to grapple with problem gambling.
That's why I support the introduction of BetFair and its ilk; online, highly-competitive, person-to-person gambling drains the industry of these profits (and taxes). This means the Government will again be able to act in the wider public interest, not just for the gambling companies.