The parliamentary debate was notable for the resort to weasel words, such as those from Labor frontbencher Senator Claire Moore that "we have decided, because of the sensitivities, the pain and the frustrations, not to continue with the measures that were in place and which had not received full commitment across all of the various interests in this area".
It would have been much simpler to say that the clubs had waged a highly misleading campaign that scared the hell out of Labor MPs in marginal seats. Greens Senator Richard Di Natale summed it up when he said that Labor's surrender "represents everything that is wrong with politics in Australia".
But that also has not been the last of the retreats on gambling reform. Last month the Victorian Government extended the licence for James Packer's Melbourne Crown Casino by 17 years to 2050 and approved an expansion of its operations, including 128 more poker machines.
Emboldened by its comprehensive political victory, the clubs industry is looking for fresh fields.
The pokies will have to be bought from Victorian clubs and pubs, thus not adding to the state's total of almost 30,000 machines. But according to one estimate, they will generate at least three times as much income at Crown as at suburban venues.
The new agreement with Crown contains an additional, quite remarkable, provision - the Government will have to compensate Crown for any measures taken between now and 2050 to tackle problem gambling. That covers all the proposals and plans that were canvassed by Wilkie and the Gillard government, including $1 dollar limits on bets, mandatory pre-commitment and restricted access to ATMs.
This surely must set a new low standard in political surrender to vested interests. Why did the Government decide to extend a licence that was not due to expire for another 19 years, let alone agree to what is close to a veto over gambling reform for the next 3½ decades?
First to placate an angry Packer after poker machine taxes were increased in the last state budget. Second because Crown will make payments to the Government of up to $910 million as part of the agreement, including $250 million this election year.
You might think an opposition, particularly one in a parliament where the numbers are precarious, might want to try blocking such a deal, since it requires legislation. To the contrary: Labor says that, despite misgivings, it will not oppose the bill. It is as anxious to placate Packer as the Government.
Emboldened by its comprehensive political victory, the clubs industry is looking for fresh fields. Clubs Australia has suggested to a Productivity Commission inquiry that, in return for tax concessions, clubs would be in a good position to provide childcare facilities.