The Pokies Play You

Sunday, 14 October, 2018

Comments from Alliance for Gambling Reform director and spokesman Tim Costello on today’s report in The Sunday Telegraph that the NSW Coalition has signed a new MOU with Clubs NSW:

“Gladys Berejiklian has capitulated again to the gambling lobby by signing another Memorandum of Understanding with Clubs NSW which will prevent long-overdue pokies reform in NSW through until 2023.”

“No other industry gets a special deal like this and when you consider NSW is the most gambling-captured jurisdiction in the world, the NSW Coalition should hang their heads in shame.”

“Since the last MOU with Clubs NSW was signed in October 2014, about $24 billion has been lost on NSW poker machines because the pokies industry has negotiated the weakest pokies regulations in the world.”

“Today’s report is particularly disgraceful coming on the last day Responsible Gambling Awareness Week in NSW and after the notorious Opera House saga which demonstrated to the world how the ruthless gambling industry has captured politicians in NSW.”

“It is noteworthy that gambling industry lobbyist Stephen Conroy was a speaker at the Clubs NSW conference yesterday and long-time gambling industry spruiker Alan Jones was the guest speaker this morning.” (see p7 of program)

“I will have more to say once the agreement has actually been released but so far it has just been selectively leaked  to The Telegraph, a newspaper which was heavily involved in the campaign to pressure the Opera House into the Everest gambling promoting.”

“Gladys Berejiklian needs to explain why she has capitulated to the gambling industry twice in once week, rather than taking a public health approach to gambling harm and committing to real reforms to cut the $7 billion a year lost on the state’s 92,000 pokies, which equates to more than $1000 a year for every NSW resident.”

“The tinkering at the edges with cosmetic changes reportedly agreed with Clubs NSW includes further blaming gamblers with third party exclusion requests and cutting the maximum amount of cash that can be loaded into a NSW poker machine from $7500 to $5000, which is still the highest in Australia.”

# See background in the latest Alliance newsletter, which includes links to the previous MOUs in 2010 and 2014.