Australians Are the World’s Biggest Gambling Losers, and Some Seek Action

Australians Are the World’s Biggest Gambling Losers, and Some Seek Action
MELBOURNE, Australia — In pockets of suburbia all across Australia, electronic gambling machines known as pokies await their many customers in pubs, hotels and sports clubs, as common a fixture as A.T.M.s in a shopping mall.
But the unremarkable machines contribute to an extraordinary level of gambling. Government statistics show that they account for more than half of individual Australians’ annual gambling losses, a gargantuan 24 billion Australian dollars, or about $18.4 billion. On a per-capita basis, Australians lose far and away the most in the world: more than 1,200 Australian dollars every year (or $920).

Australia’s gambling losses per adult are more than double those in the United States, and around 50 percent higher than second-placed Singapore, according to H2 Gambling Capital, an analytics company.
As those figures swell, a public war is brewing between venue operators and people against gambling,..

‘Orbanomics’: A Miracle for Hungary, or a Mirage?

‘Orbanomics’: A Miracle for Hungary, or a Mirage? SIKLOSNAGYFALU, Hungary — In seeking re-election, Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orban, claims to have conjured an economic miracle since taking office eight years ago. One village shows he is right — and wrong.
After winning power in 2010, Mr. Orban implemented a vast workfare program in which menial tasks have been given to hundreds of thousands of jobseekers — including 73 of the 472 residents of Siklosnagyfalu, a village near the southern border.
As a result, there are roughly half as many jobseekers in the village as there were before Mr. Orban took office. (Over the same period, the national unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent from 11.4 percent.)
But the woolly nature of the jobs program in Siklosnagyfalu and hundreds of similar towns has left critics asking whether all is really as it seems — and whether workfare participants are really working.
Continue reading the main story In the summer, pr..