Perrottet’s poker machines reforms a watershed
Minns can still show leadership and back cashless card
6 Feb 2023
The Alliance for Gambling Reform has applauded the poker machine reforms outlined by Premier Perrottet, arguing they represent a watershed moment in harm minimisation.
“These reforms unveiled by Premier Perrottet today are the most significant and wide-ranging poker machine reforms that I have seen in more than 30 years of campaigning to limit gambling harm in communities across Australia, the Chief Advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Tim Costello, said.
"I applaud the Premier's leadership and determination to introduce a mandatory cashless gambling card with pre-commitments. in which people can set a limit on their losses, across all pubs and clubs in NSW." Rev Costello said.
"It is clear from all of the evidence, including the recent NSW Crime Commission Report, that a mandatory cashless gambling card will reduce gambling harm and also combat the billions of dollars in the proceeds and crime that are laundered and spent on poker machines across the State's pubs and clubs every year.”
The reforms reflect the core of the Alliance's Position Paper on poker machine reform with the central recommendation being a mandatory cashless gambling card requiring people to prove their identity in order to play and in which people can set loss limits and once those limits are reached they are temporarily stopped from playing.
Rev. Costello said while the Alliance would like the deadlines for the reforms to be sooner, it was understood that it will take time to adapt the 90,000 machines across the state.
"That is why these reforms are so important, while Tasmania is committed to a cashless gambling card there are just over 3,300 machines in that State. NSW has always been the 'belly of the beast' with more than half of the nation's poker machines in pubs and clubs,” he said.
“The focus must now be on Opposition Leader Chris Minns. He must abandon his policy for a flawed and unnecessary trial - a policy essentially written by the big clubs - and deliver bipartisan support for real reforms in NSW.”
The Alliance’s Position Paper says: “The evidence is clear: approaches relying on voluntary or anonymous cashless gambling cards are self-defeating. They simply do not achieve the aims of minimising gambling harm or addressing criminal activity”.
Rev. Costello argued we must not allow the deep pockets and the aggressive and misleading lobbying of ClubsNSW and the Australian Hotels Association to manipulate the election campaign to stall any change that will help reduce gambling harm.
“If Mr Minns commits to support the introduction of a mandatory cashless card, he will show true leadership, be tough on crime and be a champion of many struggling communities (many of which are held by the ALP) where gambling hits the hardest, sucking millions of dollars out of local communities and destroying lives,” he said.
Rev. Costello said the position paper outlined 14 recommendations that any cashless gambling card should adhere to.
“The position paper outlines a model that will work to reduce harm, remove the risk of criminal activity and address the glaring problems in the industry highlighted by successive inquiries.”
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