Community organisations in Western Australia have recently shared their disappointment with the fact that the ban on virtual gaming machines was lifted in the state to allow local punters to place bets on virtual racing machines.

On September 4th, the Legislative Council of the state’s Parliament voted to pass a legislation reform package for the racing industry in Western Australia. Its implementation is also expected to make the WA TAB possible. Apart from that, the piece of legislation also included a provision under which TAB outlets would be allowed to offer simulated gambling to their customers. Some community organisations, however, fear that such a step could facilitate the implementation of poker machines, also known as pokies.

According to the leader of policy and research at WACOSS, Chris Twomey, many public health experts and leading community services had gotten in touch with some council members to raise concerns regarding the simulated racing machines’ impact.

Western Australia has been different from the rest of the Australian states in terms of pokies, as it has been having stricter rules in place to prevent such controversial electronic gaming machines from being operated from any other place than the only casino in the state.

Now, according to some experts, it was an irony that the rest of Australia was trying to reduce gambling by imposing stricter regulation, while Western Australia seems to be doing exactly the opposite thing by steps towards liberalisation of its gambling market.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt, however, accused local community organisations of hypocrisy. He reminded that some of the protesting organisations have been getting considerable benefits from money derived from gamblers in Western Australia.