Berejiklian government fails to prevent from club and pub scandals - Alliance for Gambling Reform

Berejiklian government fails to prevent club and pub scandals

Monday 2nd September 2019

The NSW Government has missed a rare opportunity to minimise gambling harm with its new Gaming Machine Regulations that came into effect on Sunday 1st September, according to the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

Alliance spokesman, the Rev Tim Costello, said the new regulations continue the NSW Government’s apparent focus on victim-blaming instead of harm minimisation.

“The Berejiklian government has failed to prevent the reprehensible behaviour exposed at Dee Why RSL, Woolworths owned ALH pubs, or Mounties from happening again.

“The government could have acted to end the ‘loyalty’ programs like Dee Why RSL’s ‘Ambassador program’ that literally rolled out the red carpet to keep Gary Van Duinen gambling deep into debt” Rev Tim Costello said

“Nothing has been done to stop Woolworths owned ALH pub managers from spying on gamblers so they can do ‘whatever it takes’ to keep gamblers at the addictive machines for as long as possible”

“This review of the regulations is a once in 10-year opportunity and Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her Minister haven’t just dropped the ball, they’ve passed it to the NSW gambling industry.”

Rev Costello said the Alliance for Gambling Reform advocated for the following changes to the regulations in its submission, all of which have been ignored:

  • Self-exclusion schemes should be managed so that participants’ details are linked to club sign-in processes or in the case of hotels, where staff at any time (and at least once every 2 hours) can request identification that should be compared with an on-line database of persons who have excluded from that venue.
  • Venues should be prohibited from serving any food or drink, with the exception of tap water, to any person operating an Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM).
  • Venues should be prohibited from locating EGMs in smoking areas.
  • Penalties should act as a real disincentive to venues which breach the Act or Regulation.
  • Player reward schemes should be prohibited.
  • ATM or other cash-dispensing machines should be located at least 30 metres from any gambling room, as recommended in the government-commissioned review.

“Across NSW, lives will be needlessly devastated by the crushing financial impacts, relationship breakdown, and suicides as a result of this failure to make sensible reforms to the NSW pokie industry” 

Contact: Tony Mohr, 0402 336 416 or media@agr.org.au