New South Wales - Alliance for Gambling Reform

New South Wales

Take Action!

Every day $18.7million is lost through poker machines in New South Wales. Every day of the year.

We need all MPs to start dealing with this as a public health issue and to swiftly act to minimize and prevent further harm. NSW still has over 92,000 poker machines (over 30% of the world’s non-casino pokies) and numbers have only fallen 5% in a decade.

Pokies are designed to addict and they contribute to poverty, mental health issues, and family violence.

Current major campaigns in NSW: 

* Unexpectedly, reform of the defective self-exclusion system in NSW is on the table. We want this fixed, and we want to back it with the introduction of a cashless system that helps people manage their gambling and spending. We want to see a safe family-led exclusion pathway introduced as well. We know the Minister is interested in reform, so let's build a large coalition to show how much the community wants reform. The more we have standing up to pubs and clubs the sooner we will have success.
More information and our sign-up form is here if you click on the link.

 

If you are ready to make a submission (extended closing date December 11 2020), here's our briefing note and sample survey questions to help guide you. Please send a copy of your submission to your local MP.

 

* With the Uniting Church in NSW/ACT and Wesley Mission, we've started a campaign to reduce harm by reducing hours. Pokies can run from at least 10am to 4am the next morning in NSW & the ACT - we want a mandatory shutdown of midnight to 10am, no exceptions. 

 


COVID-19 update: Like everyone, we've had to make some big changes. From March 23 2020, all poker machines were turned off. On May 18 2020 we hit an amazing milestone: $1billion had NOT been lost on poker machines during the shutdown. But ClubsNSW and the AHA couldn't wait as long as the rest of the country, and they announced that poker machines would come back on in NSW first, from June 1. Read our release here, and see some of the media we generated on the day. We're still campaigning to build back better, so that our community spaces are safe for all, create employment, and support the arts/entertainment sectors that have been so badly hit by corona shutdowns. This means most of our regular campaigns have been put on hold.

To be safe, all workplaces should have COVID plans. Here are examples in English and community languages from the NSW government. And because these are difficult times, we're sharing the Western Sydney Recovery Centre's tips on self-care in English and community languages


Regular Campaigns

We're campaigning to start the process of reducing gambling harm with common sense policies such as:

1. Bringing in $1 maximum bets

2. Ending loyalty schemes that encourage people to gamble more 
(click on the link to tip us off about loyalty programs in clubs and pubs)

3. Giving councils the right to say “NO” to pokie machines

 

Write to Party LeadersSign the petition to Fix NSW

Talk to politicansDonate to the Alliance

 

Other campaigns you can support: 

We want NSW Councils to have at least the same rights as Victorian ones to say NO! Sign the petition to give Councils the final say
We need to be able to access the information and data detailing pokie harm in NSW, sign the petition

 

Other actions you could take: 

The NSW Budget Estimates sessions occur several times a year. This is where Upper House MPs can quiz Ministers, senior public servants and statutory bodies, like the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority. Those questions must be answered. You can ask your local MP to help you get a question asked - see here for further information.

 

WINS:


We've been asking our supporters to lobby the Minister for gambling, Victor Dominello, and the Premier to act on gambling reform. We've been having key meetings with MPs, but they only act when they hear from residents. Your work has helped make these changes in NSW:

Awareness week: On Thursday 17 October 2019, the NSW Parliament's Upper House called on the government to change the name of the annual awareness week from the industry favoured Responsible Gambling Awareness Week to the more accurate Gambling Harm Awareness Week. In March 2020, the Minister and Office of Responsible Gambling announced a name change in 2020 - it will now be the GambleAware Week. Underwhelmed?  So are we, especially since that name is the one used by the UK bookmakers' "charity" for their voluntary awareness week in Britain. Still - your efforts helped convince the Minister to start the move, and now we just need to keep the pressure on to get to a useful name in 2021.

Inducements: Also in October 2019, parliament also worked together to strengthen bans on inducements to get people to open online betting accounts. Excellent. Even better would be to ban inducements to gambling for everyone! Click here to send an email to the Minister asking for a total inducement ban.

Changing the Culture: On behalf of concerned supporters, the Alliance lodged complaints against two clubs, Wests Ashfield, and Wests New Lambton (not related), around their membership promotions. Both complaints were upheld. We don't exactly know why (some cultural change has a way to go, especially over data transparency), but we believe that Liquor and Gaming are looking a lot more closely at how clubs try to lure people into gambling too much in order to get membership benefits.
In July 2020, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority released two blunt and savage reports - into the Woolies/ALH pubs that had been serving free drinks to gamblers, and recording their behaviours; and into the Dee Why RSL over the way its VIP scheme contributed to Gary Van Duinen's death by suicide.

 

What we're up against: 

The NSW Coalition's Memos of Understanding with ClubsNSW:

MOU 2010

MOU 2014

MOU 2018

The NSW ALP's Clubs Policy, released during the 2019 state election campaign
Current data on club and pub pokie losses and numbers.

 

Map of Australia highlighting NSW