Since our work with Wesley Mission and the Uniting Church NSW/ACT started in 2020, Wesley have appointed a new CEO and Superintendent, Stu Cameron. Tim Costello was in Sydney to meet up with Stu and Uniting Church Moderator Simon Hansford, to discuss how our three organisations can continue to work more closely on gambling reform.
We filmed Tim, Stu and Simon in discussion about what gambling harm is, and what avenues there are for reform.
Stu was familiar with the extent of harm caused in NSW because Wesley Mission runs a gambling counselling service, and has a state wide legal team which often assists people in financial difficulties because of their gambling. Simon explained how Uniting Church congregations are already engaged in social justice campaigns to address inequity and restore fairness and compassion. Many are active in areas such as homelessness, mental health and family violence, all areas where gambling harm is an additional significant factor.
Tim, Stu and Simon also took time to give a press conference on the announcement that Crown, if it can obtain a licence to operate a casino in Sydney, will be cashless - there are real concerns that if this is not carefully designed, the casino will take even more money even more quickly.
The Alliance argues, if the design of any casino's cashless payment system follows our suggested guidelines, then people will be much better able to manage their gambling, will be able to set limits and will receive alerts. Universal identity linked cashless gambling will also stop money-laundering, and we look forward to it being introduced into pubs and clubs as well.
Our three organisations are exploring different ways we can build community understanding of the nature of the industry, what gambling harm is, and how to advocate for reform.
We expect to release those video discussions soon.