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Gambling industry’s $10m fighting fund to scuttle reform ‘obscene’ - Alliance urgently needs funds to win poker machine reform fight

3 Feb 2023

The not-for-profit agency at the centre of a “David vs Goliath” battle for poker machine reform in NSW has criticised as ‘obscene’ reports the gambling industry has amassed a $10 million fighting fund to stop changes to reduce gambling harm and to stop billions of dollars from the proceeds of crime being fed into poker machines across NSW.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform, the leading advocate for gambling reform, has also condemned revelations that the gambling and alcohol lobby boosted its political donations by 40% last year to give $2.1.m to political parties – in order to buy influence and stall real gambling reform.

The Alliance receives no government funding and operates solely on donations. Its funding is not guaranteed and it is severely limited advocating for change unless it can urgently raise more operating funds.

The Alliance advocates for change, produces evidence-based policy and supports people with lived experience to have their voice heard.

“We have a once-in-a-generation chance at real reform in NSW, we should make no mistake about how much the industry will spend to stop change - change that will reduce gambling harm and also combat the billions of dollars in laundered money and the proceeds of crime that are tipped into poker machines across the State every year,” the Alliance’s Chief Advocate, Tim Costello, said.

“Now is a critical time for people to step up and join this fight, we urgently need funding from concerned companies, philanthropists and members of the public.”

The Alliance this week released a definitive position paper on the best model for a cashless gambling card ahead of the expected release by the NSW Premier of a package of reforms to reduce the harm of poker machines.

Rev. Costello said the position paper highlighted the critical importance of any cashless gambling card - that it must be mandatory with each card registered to an individual user.

“The evidence is clear: approaches relying on voluntary and/or anonymous cashless gambling cards are self-defeating. They simply do not achieve the aims of minimising gambling harm and/or addressing criminal activity,” the position paper states.

“ Indeed, voluntary or anonymous cards may even add to harm by enabling gamblers to distance themselves emotionally from the reality that they are losing their money (a known risk with cashless gambling), without the ability to implement counter measures such as pre-committed spending limits.”

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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