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Misinformation, bullying and dirty-tricks campaign to stop gambling reform must be condemned - Call for NSW electoral commission to investigate

14 Dec 2022

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has condemned the campaign of dirty tricks, misinformation and bullying that has been launched in a desperate bid to stave off real reform of poker machines across NSW. The proposed reforms put forward by the NSW Crime Commission and various inquiries into the gambling industry promise to thwart money laundering and other crimes and significantly reduce gambling harm across our communities. The organisation is so concerned that it is calling on the NSW Electoral Commission to investigate to avoid voters being misled on this critical issue.

The NSW Crime Commission has recommended the implementation of a cashless gaming card as part of its findings that poker machines across NSW are being used to launder the proceeds of crime and that the gambling habits of people are leading to crimes being committed. The NSW Government has pledged to introduce a cashless card.

“Despite the strong evidence for a cashless card, the clubs lobby has launched an aggressive and misleading campaign that is nothing more than a scare campaign,” the Chief Advocate for the Alliance, Tim Costello, said.
“The clubs’ campaign makes no mention of the Crime Commission’s compelling findings and scandalously describes the technology as reckless and unproven. A dishonest robo-call campaign is also spreading alarm and misinformation.”

Rev Costello accused Clubs NSW of bullying MPs such as outspoken independent Helen Dalton who ‘dare to support’ the cashless card.

“The scare campaign and bullying of the clubs lobby can be completely neutered if both major parties in NSW committed to the cashless card. If Opposition Leader, Chris Minns, pledged his support to a mandatory cashless card then both parties could work in a bipartisan way to get these critical reforms done,” he said.
“The introduction of a cashless gambling card doesn’t stop people from gambling, it simply reduces money laundering as people would have to provide proof of their identity to gamble. It would also enable ‘loss limits’ to be set for the card which would significantly reduce gambling harm.

The Alliance is a national advocacy organisation which works to prevent and minimise the harm from gambling. Our aim is to remove the shame that surrounds gambling, have the problem treated as a public health issue, and achieve the legislative changes needed to protect our communities.

Tim Costello is available for interview

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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