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Pokies clubs are meant to use a tax break for good. But this is what they spent $242m on

The Sydney Morning Herald

17 June 2024

Victorian pokies clubs are using hundreds of millions of dollars from a lucrative tax break to pay for wages, venue decorations and pay-TV subscriptions, prompting calls for the state government to overhaul the concession.

In Victoria, club venue operators receive a favourable tax rate compared with hotels, but must contribute a proportion of their net gaming machine revenue – 8.33 per cent – back to the community each financial year.

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Increasing availability of lottery tickets and scratchies is 'normalising' gambling, advocates say

ABC News

21 May 2024

Many consider buying a lotto ticket every now and then a harmless activity and scratchies are often shared as gifts. However, Gambling Reform Alliance chief executive Carol Bennett said the risks of lotteries should not be underestimated.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform argued lotteries should not be treated more leniently than other betting activities.

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Alleged data leak blackmailer could face years in jail

Eden Magnet

3 May 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform said the breach could have been avoided by a centralised, secure universal cashless gambling card system. "This breach highlights just how unaccountable clubs are and how haphazard they are with the mountain of private information they routinely collect from the public, without direct consent," chief executive Carol Bennett said in a statement.

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First NSW cashless gaming trial results criticised as further trials continue

Drinks Trade

24 Apr 2024

The report into the cashless gaming trial conducted at Wests Newcastle has received criticism from various industry stakeholders after it showed the technology to have little impact on the behaviour of gamblers.

The main areas of concern have stemmed from the trial’s lack of harm-reducing features and lack of features that encourage continued participation.

“It was mostly about testing the technology and a little bit of a hint towards harm minimisation,” said Carol Bennet, CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

“I would have liked to see more on the harm minimisation front.”

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NSW Netball Teams Back Gambling Ad Ban

B&T

5 Apr 2024

The mistake raised calls for gambling advertising reform with the ground-based ads engraining gambling practice within the sport itself. According to the Alliance For Gambling Reform, three in every four kids believe that gambling is a normal part of sports, and anyone 12 or younger has never watched a sporting game without bearing witness to gambling advertising of some capacity.

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Have your say on whether $8m pokie-free Warringah Golf Club House should be able to serve alcohol

The Daily Telegraph

2 Apr 2024

Outspoken anti-poker machine campaigner and supporter of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Pat Daley, praised the club for going pokie-free.

Mr Daley, who pushed for gambling reforms while a councillor with Northern Beaches and Warringah councils, said it th golf club was seen as a “real example of what can be done” as NSW moves towards a reduction in macines and tougher poker machine policies.

“The proposed new club has wide support in the local community”.

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Advocates warn Northern Territory gambling reforms may leave public at risk

Gold Coast Bulletin

26 Mar 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform called for a national wagering commission, saying the Northern Territory had proven it “was not equipped” to regulate the industry.

“The federal government must step in,” chief executive Carol Bennett said, in line with recommendations from last year’s ‘You win some, you lose more’ parliamentary inquiry into online gambling.

Ms Bennett said that in drafting its laws the NT government consulted 28 gambling companies and just one harm-minimisation organisation, resulting in proposed $1.7m penalties being slashed to $440,000.

“If the NT government were serious about who their clients were, they’d recognise that it’s the Australian public, not the gambling industry,” she said.

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Gambling reform advocates target alleged breaches by clubs, Territory-wide harm-reduction measures

Riotact

20 Mar 2024

The CMS has the support of the Alliance for Gambling Reform. CEO Carol Bennett said would be an “important step” as it could provide information about who is gambling, when and how much, and can flag those at risk of gambling harm.

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'Slap on wrist' for Newcastle pub caught breaking pokies rules

9 News

19 Mar 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief executive Carol Bennett accused the hotel of showing "complete disregard for the law and the harms it is exposing its patrons to" by letting people gamble beyond authorised hours.

"There are good reasons for shutdown periods in licensed venues. We know that nothing good is happening in a pokies venue after midnight and the research clearly shows that's when most gambling harm occurs," she told 9news.com.au.

9news.com.au has contacted the hotel for comment multiple times, but it did not respond.

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Alliance wants NT’s online gambling laws strengthened

NT Business News

13 Mar 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform CEO Carol Bennett has called on the Commonwealth to overhaul the NT government’s dismal regulation of online gambling advertising and cease offering a tax haven to multi-billion dollar foreign operators. “The NT Government, which benefits from large revenues generated from online gambling, has now given itself the power of veto over the decisions of all other authorities,” Ms Bennett said. “This not only reduces transparency but also gives people no confidence that the government will act to reduce gambling harm, especially given significant regulatory failures already identified by the national online gambling inquiry.”

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A-Leagues Brandish Offshore Operator’s Logo in Overseas Broadcasts

Gambling News

11 Mar 2024

The deal was further critiqued because of 8XBet’s history of illegal operation in Australia. The company was forced to leave the local market in 2022 following an investigation by the ACMA. The watchdog learned that the company had taken money from local customers despite lacking the necessary license to do so.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s CEO, Carol Bennett, was not amused at the APL’s deal with 8XBet. She was firm that the A-leagues are selling out to offshore operators and described this decision as “very disappointing.”

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Ads for gambling company forced to leave Australia digitally imposed on overseas A-Leagues broadcasts

MSN Australia

10 Mar 2024

The deal was criticised by the Alliance for Gambling Reform’s chief executive, Carol Bennet, who accused the A-Leagues of “selling out” to offshore gambling.

“Allowing themselves to be used by gambling companies to attract more losers is very disappointing, especially at a time when soccer is well positioned to increase its reach and engagement,” Bennett said.

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New $8m pokie-free Warringah Golf Club House gets planning go-ahead

The Daily Telegraph

5 Mar 2024

Outspoken anti-poker machine campaigner and supporter of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Pat Daley, praised the club for going pokie-free.

Mr Daley, who pushed for gambling reforms while a councillor with Northern Beaches and Warringah councils, said it was “setting an example of how a club can operate without poker machines”.

“The business model will be completely family-friendly, embracing other sports and becoming a community hub”.

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NT gambling laws ‘holding the country to ransom’

NTNews

24 Feb 2024

The Northern Territory Government is rushing through weak, “watered down” regulations to sidestep the Federal Government’s expected response to a scathing report into online gambling. Alliance CEO Carol Bennett accused the Territory Government of being “drunk on gambling revenue”, with the new bill failing to address major flaws in online gambling regulations. “You need a regulator that has teeth and has the capacity to do the job properly — and that isn’t the Northern Territory.” She said.

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The power of the people will change this

Community Radio Geelong

10 June 2024

In this radio interview Interim CEO Martin Thomas joins Rob Cameron to discuss the pressing issues surrounding gambling:

👥 The profound social consequences and personal impacts of gambling.
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 The devastating ripple effects of gambling harm on families and friends.
💸 The millions spent by gambling companies to use the latest technology to make games addictive.
😡 The rising public outrage, particularly concerning gambling advertisements.
📣 The importance of amplifying #VoicesForGamblingReform and their crucial stories.
📑 The urgent need to act on the Peta Murphy report and its 31 recommendations.
🚫 The necessity of addressing political donations from gambling companies.
🗣️ How the community can raise their voices against gambling harm.

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Cruise Line Faces Backlash After Man Commits Suicide Following Casino Losses

Casino

16 May 2024

It’s really concerning that when a ship sails 12 nautical miles off the coast it can allow anything and everything to happen,” Carol Bennett, the CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, told Daily Mail Australia. “You would expect this cruise line would have some kind of duty of care to ensure that people are not plied with inducements, promotions, and advertisements that are pushing them to gamble to extremely harmful levels.”

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Man charged with blackmail over clubs data leak

The New Daily

3 May 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform said the breach could have been avoided by a centralised, secure universal cashless gambling card system. “This breach highlights just how unaccountable clubs are and how haphazard they are with the mountain of private information they routinely collect from the public, without direct consent,” chief executive Carol Bennett said.

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Pokies venues bet on community goodwill over gambling revenue

Institute of Community Directors Australia

16 Apr 2024

Faced with inaction from government, some pokies venues are taking matters into their own hands to stem community losses from gambling, writes Alliance for Gambling Reform CEO Carol Bennett.

There is a growing backlash against gambling in Australia.

Across Australia’s eastern states, clubs and pubs are increasingly shunning poker machines.

In some cases, it’s a response to falling revenue, but mostly it is a response by clubs and pubs to the growing anger across the nation about the intolerable and devastating gambling losses we all pay a price for.

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“An Error Was Made In Round One”: Tabcorp Admits To Breaching Its Own Advertising Rules

Bandt

3 Apr 2024

The mistake has raised calls for gambling advertising reform with the ground-based ads engraining gambling practice within the sport itself. According to the Alliance For Gambling Reform, three in every four kids believe that gambling is a normal part of sports, and anyone 12 or younger has never watched a sporting game without bearing witness to gambling advertising of some capacity.

“I am now reluctant to allow my child to view the footy fixture online due to the ‘Bet Easy’ icon next to the game. I also feel annoyed and dismayed at the AFL that they have allowed a gambling company to infiltrate the game,” an anonymous source told the Alliance For Gambling Reform.

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‘We know the community is over it’: how self-regulation of gambling ads came unstuck minutes into an AFL game

The Guardian

1 Apr 2024

Tim Costello, the Chief Advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, says the return of football has reminded many families of what they hate: “a tsunami of gambling and sports betting ads”. “Fans hate it,” Costello says. “Parents hate it. But the AFL is unmoved. Do gambling interests now completely own our game?”

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Cards fall Crown's way in casino licence ruling

MSN

26 Mar 2024

The Alliance for Gambling Reform said the size of Crown Melbourne - more than double that of any casino in Las Vegas - remained a concern and called for the government to make the pokies limits in place at Crown mandatory across all pubs and clubs.

"All of Victoria deserves the same protection from gambling harm as patrons at Crown," its chief executive Carol Bennett said.

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Calls grow for poker machine reforms after gambler takes own life

The Canberra Times

19 Mar 2024

Canberra has the weakest regulation of any Australian state or territory, said Carol Bennett, who leads the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

It, alone of Australian jurisdictions, does not have all machines linked to each other in a network so that a gambler can't switch venues or machines to get round limits on spending.

Tasmania has just introduced such a pre-paid card system. It's also networked its machines so the system as a whole knows how much a gambler spends in a day - the system can monitor spending by each gambler.

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Monday Matters Podcast: Interview on gambling ads

Monday Matters

18 Mar 2024

CEO of the Alliance, Carol Bennett, joined Ian Bunston on his podcast Monday Matters. They were joined by lived experience advocates Reggie Stockwell and Ken Bone who shared their “incredible stories, and incredible contributions back to the community”. The podcast focused on strategies to tackle gambling harm, in a powerful conversation.

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Government refuses to release results of first cashless gaming trial

The Sydney Moring Herald

12 Mar 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief advocate Reverend Tim Costello said: “Sadly, the government not releasing it and us having no visibility does not give us any confidence to back this trial.

“It’s as useless as saying brakes in a car are voluntary. It should have always been a trial where it was mandatory and compulsory to actually use the harm-minimisation features on the cashless card.

“It makes us all suspicious that actually the industry is being protected. There is no transparency.

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Network Ten's gambling complaints

ABC News

12 Mar 2024

Complaints have been lodged against Channel Ten's Survivor Australia program over concerns it integrated gambling ads into the show. Financial Counselling Australia say contestants on the show competed to win a prize from the New South Wales Lottery agency called 'Set for Life'.

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Only one harm reduction group and 28 betting companies consulted over contentious NT gambling bill

The Guardian

7 Mar 2024

Carol Bennett, the chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said the timing of the bill was “interesting”, given the Albanese government was expected to respond to the federal inquiry’s recommendations within weeks.

That inquiry, led by the former Labor MP Peta Murphy, called for a new national regulator to take responsibility away from the Northern Territory and be “responsible for all licensing and regulation”.

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Cricket Australia paid to promote affiliate of controversial gambling company during Boxing Day Test

The Guardian

2 Mar 2024

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s chief executive, Carol Bennett, praised Cricket Australia for removing the ads once it realised the link to 1xBet. She said the mistake demonstrated why a national gambling regulator was needed.

“The gambling industry are known to use questionable tactics to push their product in their endeavours to find new markets and without a cop on the beat covering all jurisdictions, its far too easy for these companies to hide in the shadows undetected,” Bennett said.

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BWS gains licence for New South Wales lottery sales

Focus

22 May 2024

Three BWS stores have secured a licence to sell lottery products in Sydney.

The move was criticised by the Gambling Reform Alliance. It says lottery should not have more lenient treatment than other forms of gambling, noting that a study published in the Addictive Behaviors journal said nearly one-third of people who exclusively gamble on lotteries are at some level of risk related to gambling.

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Canberra club members believed to be spared worst of data breach

RiotACT

3 May 2024

The Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR) took the opportunity to “spotlight the need for cashless gambling cards”. “This breach highlights just how unaccountable clubs are and how haphazard they are with the mountain of private information they routinely collect from the public – without direct consent,” CEO Carol Bennett said.

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Man arrested after club visitor data exposed in breach

The Senior

25 May 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform said the breach could have been avoided by a centralised, secure universal cashless gambling card system. "This breach highlights just how unaccountable clubs are and how haphazard they are with the mountain of private information they routinely collect from the public, without direct consent," chief executive Carol Bennett said in a statement.

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This community club took extreme measures to kill off its pokies

The Age

6 Apr 2024

“The Hastings Club is reacting to state regulations that limit its capacity to meet increased liabilities at a time when returns from gambling are diminishing,” said the Alliance for Gambling Reform chief executive Carol Bennett.

“The government should be providing clubs every opportunity to surrender poker machine entitlements for the benefit of the community, but this is unlikely given the parlous budgetary situation in Victoria,” she said.

“A government focussed on reducing gambling harm would strive to reduce overall pokies entitlements altogether. Revenue from gambling should not be propping up the Victorian budget.”

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'Dud' policy or 'absolutely essential'? Battlelines drawn over the best ways to reduce gambling harm

Riotact

2 Apr 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform CEO Carol Bennett asked why the two had to be mutually exclusive.

“Why wouldn’t we aim for both?” she asked.

ACTCOSS CEO Devin Bowles added: “Having a system that encompasses the whole jurisdiction is absolutely essential if we want to minimise gambling harms.”

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Gambling reform on agenda

Wangaratta Chronicle

27 Mar 2024

The Rural City of Wangaratta will join the Alliance with the action endorsed in a March council meeting. The decision to join the Alliance is one of the measures under council's endorsement of its Policy to Reduce Gambling Harm and Strategic Plan to Reduce Gambling Harm.

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Win for Crown Resorts as its Melbourne casino keeps state licence

The Age

26 Mar 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief executive Carol Bennett said while Crown’s transformation plan had been a step forward, the entire gambling sector should be subject to tougher rules, such as cashless gaming.

“What we are seeking is that the standards that now apply to Crown will also apply to pubs and clubs across Victoria,” Bennett said.

“If that doesn’t happen, the problems we saw at Crown will shift into the community. We’re creating an uneven playing field.”

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NT gambling laws are being overhauled. Here's why reform will have national consequences

ABC News

19 Mar 2024

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief executive Carol Bennett said the NT government had watered down its proposed reforms during the consultation process.

Ms Bennett said 28 gambling companies and just one harm-minimisation organisation were consulted over draft laws, and penalties were watered down based on that feedback.

She said the federal government urgently needed to step in and take over regulating the industry.

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The Business of Betting: Analyzing the Economic Impact of Sports Betting in Australia

The Comeback

18 Mar 2024

Rev. Tim Costello, a leading campaigner for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, stated that the effects of these alarmingly large losses could not be sustained for any further duration. In December 2019, Rev. Costello stated, “Gambling harm encompasses everything from the loss of homes and relationships to the loss of lives through deaths by suicide associated with gambling harm.”

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Network Ten's gambling complaints

ABC Listen

11 Mar 2024

Complaints have been lodged against Channel Ten's Survivor Australia program over concerns it integrated gambling ads into the show.

Financial Counselling Australia say contestants on the show competed to win a prize from the New South Wales Lottery agency called 'Set for Life'.

They claim that by promoting a gambling product, Network Ten may have breached the Children's Advertising Code.

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Geelong man issues warning against online sport gambling after his addiction saw him land in jail

ABC News

10 Mar 2024

The Alliance for Gambling Reform believes sporting organisations are negligent in putting the huge gambling profits ahead of the welfare of fans and the community.

Carol Bennett with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and anti-gambling campaigner Tim Costello.
"It's time for the sporting codes to accept some responsibility, 78 per cent of the community believe that sport and gambling should not go together and 73 per cent feel gambling advertising should be banned in sport," said Carol Bennett, chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

"Sport will only promote the association between gambling and sport as normal, this is no longer tenable, we need to see leadership just as we saw with tobacco. The federal government can act."

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Can Australia do more to prevent global catastrophes?

ABC Listen

5 Mar 2024

If the world continues on its current path, seven per cent of the global population – or 575 million people – will be living in extreme poverty by 2030, and another 600 million will be severely malnourished.

That's the warning from a new campaign that launches today - pushing Australia to do more to help prevent the emergence of global catastrophes, by investing more in foreign aid, a safer climate and a fairer global economy. The 'Safer World for All' campaign will be launched at the Global Citizen Now conference being held in Melbourne this week.

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Minister briefed on how total gambling ad ban would work in Australia by European experts

The Guardian

29 Feb 2024

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s Tim Costello, who has personally lobbied the prime minister to introduce a gambling ad ban, was also encouraged by the minister’s meeting.

“It’s very hopefully and I am pleased she is there,” Costello said. “Belgium has some of the tightest regulation in the world. If they were just ticking a box to say they’d been consulted, I’m sure the meeting would have taken place online.

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