2021 - and we're in Phase 2 of getting the Gambling Harm Minimisation Bill passed unanimously in NSW Parliament in March.
We need maximum pressure on the ALP to ensure they vote in support of the modest and simple reforms, rather than cave in to pub and club pressure. Email the NSW ALP leadership now!
If your local MP is neither ALP or government, then we need to ensure they commit to reforms - contact us for information on how to approach your state MP.
Resources for you to consult:
- Our position paper on Self and Third Party Exclusion systems
- Our position paper on Cashless Gambling Systems
- Our submission on the initial consultation draft (very technical)
- Consultation draft
- Our language guide for journalists
Follow our blogs to keep up to date
And here are our related media releases
- 18/11/20 Crown decision the right one for the people of NSW, and to prevent money laundering
- 2/10/20 AHA and Clubs NSW clearly values profit over people
- 11/6/20 New South Wales increased pokies losses in first week
- 1/6/20 Major public health and social concerns around pokies reopening in NSW
What's happened so far
It's a radical action, to exclude yourself or a loved one from a venue with poker machines, but sometimes, that's the best thing in order to break the cycle.
Parliament recommend a family exclusion pathway, and the need for that was highlighted through the death by suicide of Gary Van Duinen, related to his gambling at Dee Why RSL club, despite the club refusing family requests to exclude Gary. Meanwhile, evidence has mounted that venues simply do not honour self-exclusion agreements, and routinely let people continue to gamble. This is no longer acceptable in the community.
The Department released a consultation draft for long-overdue, simple reform in September 2020 - and the pubs and clubs set their hair on fire. We know, because they always do this, that they will use every scare tactic in the book to protect their revenue streams. An average poker machine in a pub in NSW makes the owner an average of $117,000 a year - and many pubs have 30 machines. That's a powerful incentive for the industry to keep reform away.
Over 50 organisations and individuals have commented on the consultation draft, and Liquor and Gaming is now revising the legislation, consulting with the Privacy Commissioner, and other experts in order to have a Bill ready for March 16 2021.
The Minister has also suggested that one part of the solution could be to have cashless gambling cards. We agree, and have also noted that these cards would help stop money-laundering through pub and club poker machines.
What reforms are currently on the table?
- Ensure venues enforce self-exclusion at the door by discreetly checking id against the register. If they don't, they get fined.
- Provide a way for families to apply to have a relative excluded, in a crisis
- Bundle all the individual venue registers into one state-wide register to be more efficient, allow people to self-exclude at any time, and get rid of the ClubsNSW fake limit on how many venues a person can exclude from
- Ensure there's a staff member with advanced Responsible Conduct of Gambling training on every shift, so they can help people in need, and staff know who to report to
- Bring in a gambling incident register, similar to the alcohol incident register that has been operating for years
- Protect staff who are whistleblowers
In summary - make the venues put prevention and reduction of harm ahead of profits from misery
Details of this reform history:
Phase I of the reforms 2020 - consultation draft has been released, the Minister is backing the reforms, the pubs and clubs are starting to fight back.
The consultation draft of reforms was listed on this Customer Services page (on behalf of Liquor and Gaming) with the contact details on how to make a submission.
The Minister's discussion of an additional cashless gambling card is here.
Submissions were due December 11, and the Alliance worked with organisations across sectors in NSW, and some national peak bodies, to ensure that Liquor and Gaming heard from multiple perspectives about how important reform is, and how parts of the draft legislation needed improvement.
The Alliance's submission is here. We welcomed the overall draft, especially making it obligatory on venues to exclude, or promptly remove from the premises, anyone who has self-excluded or is on an exclusion register. We called for improvements in the family-led pathway, more realistic design of the proposed venue gambling incident register and suggested wording to ensure that venues must be obliged to undertake all reasonable steps to help keep people safe when they have applied to self-exclude. We are supportive of other parts of the legislation that strengthen responsible conduct of gambing, especially ensuring that there is a staff member with advanced responsible conduct of gambling training on every shift.
We had provided briefing notes and submission guidelines for other organisations. The Alliance's detailed briefing note including our key general principles is here as a pdf. Our guidelines for a simple submission are here as a pdf. Our template submission is here as a pdf.