By Clyde Mooney
ClubsAustralia has rejected media reports suggesting it had dropped its campaign against government prescribed poker machine reforms due to fears of a community backlash.
The advertising campaign, launched in April, was aimed squarely at the casual gambler who would be affected by the proposed ‘license to bet’.
A spokesperson for ClubsAustralia told TheShout that the campaign had received extensive news coverage and, having achieved its primary objective, the television commercials have now stopped.
However the campaign is set to continue with new billboards and radio commercials coming in June.
“The decision not to include television advertisements in the campaign was made on April 8, three days prior to the campaign launch, when it became apparent that the campaign would receive significant TV news coverage,” said ClubsAustralia spokesperson Jeremy Bath.
“At this time ClubsAustralia communicated this change in campaign strategy to ministers Jenny Macklin and Bill Shorten.
“It is our expectation that the campaign will not need to run for the two years initially planned or involve television advertising.”
ClubsAustralia has also disputed widely reported claims that it would spend $20 million on the campaign.
“Our working budget for the remainder of the campaign is approximately $2 million,” said Bath.
“If however Andrew Wilkie is successful in introducing mandatory pre-commitment technology, then obviously we will need to re-evaluate the length and budget of the campaign and possibly our non-use of TV advertising.”
ClubsAustralia’s objective now is to reach the relevant members of the community that missed hearing its message the first time around.
Bath said the initial television campaign had achieved significant cut-through, with a good response from gamblers, licensed venues and concerned politicians.
One of Labor’s own ministers, Mike Kelly, recently announced his concerns over the proposed reforms.