Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Greeks bearing gifts?

I reported earlier on how Labor Party post-political careers are being fostered by the gaming industry in Victoria. Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu has recently accused John Pandazopoulos, the gaming minister in Victoria, of meeting secretly with officials from Intralot the huge Greek firm bidding for gambling rights in Victoria.

Intralot is seeking to displace Tattslotto whose exclusive lottery licence is up for renewal. When quizzed on Bailleu’s claims in the Victorian Parliament Mr Pandazopoulos did not directly deny them.

Several commentators have suggested that Intralot does not always walk the straight and narrow. Intralot is also attempting to expand its business in South Africa but has faced lottery-rigging charges in Greece and is being sued by the Russian Government.

Mr Pandazopoulos has been one of the weaker ministers in the Bracks Government line-up. In the past he has correctly rejected Tattslotto’s claim for an exclusive gaming licence in Victoria on the grounds that competition was needed.

While this is commendable could Mr. Pandazopoulos, like his colleagues, also be thinking of a career post-politics? While the critical claims made by his critics are only innuendo at this stage it will be interesting to see how things evolve over the coming months. I'll watch.

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