Libs likely to reject pokies bill

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has predicted that his party will not support poker machine gambling reforms and has indicated the coalition will rescind any legislation if elected.

Speaking to more than 1000 club supporters at a packed rally at Campbelltown RSL south-west of Sydney on Tuesday night, Mr Abbott said “no sensible government leaves really bad law in place”.

Mr Abbott said his party had so far not seen the government’s legislation, which seeks to force pokie players to preset a limit on how much they can spend in an effort to stem problem gambling.

Nevertheless, he predicted the party would not support it.

“I do know what my party-room is like,” Mr Abbott said.

“I also know that anything that smacks of the nanny state will not be welcome by my party-room.

“So when this legislation comes before the party-room I predict that we will oppose it.

Mr Abbott’s comments were greeted with applause and cheers from the crowd who waved banners reading “Won’t work, will hurt” and “Save our clubs”.

The rally was in reaction to legislation proposed by independent MP Andrew Wilkie who struck a deal with the Gillard government.

Under the government’s plan, high-intensity pokie machines or those that take large bets will be pre-programmed to cap losses at $120 an hour rather than $1200 and people who want to play these high-intensity machines will have to use a mandatory pre-commitment card and set a monetary limit.

Clubs are rallying against the proposed reforms, saying that they will cost too much.

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