101 East

Australia: World’s Worst Gamblers

101 East investigates the battle to rein in Australia’s addiction to poker machines.

Australians are the world’s biggest gamblers, losing $25bn a year. And poker machines are their preferred choice of poison.

Despite its relatively small population, the country is home to 20 percent of the world’s “pokies”, as the machines are known locally, with most found in community pubs and clubs.

Gambling causes widespread social destruction, but taking on the vested interests behind an industry that generates billions in profits and taxes has proved extremely difficult.

Now, after decades of failure, state governments are fighting back.

101 East investigates Australia’s battle against gambling addiction.