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Australian Government Exchanged Video Poker Ads for Smoking Ban

19 November 2002

VICTORIA, Australia – As reported by the Australia Herald Sun: "The Bracks Government agreed to ban smoking at Victorian pokies venues in exchange for the scrapping of a politically damaging advertising campaign, it was claimed yesterday.

"The Herald Sun has learned smoke-free gaming was introduced after the Government was given a sneak preview of the campaign financed by anti-gambling lobbyists.

"The never-seen TV ads, inspired by a group known as Communities Against the Pokies Plague, focused on the devastating effects of poker machine addiction.

"…The Government were very worried about them," a source from the anti-gambling lobby told the Herald Sun.

"…Powerful pokies bosses, who had no idea the bans were coming, were stunned when the Government announced its intention to outlaw smoking at Crown casino and the state's 534 gaming venues in January.

"The announcement came a month after Mr Bracks was warned about the campaign during a meeting with the lobby group's representatives.

"The source said the Government's sudden change of heart came after it had previously indicated smoking bans were at least five years away…"

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