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‘Playing us for years’: how pokies profits have funded tax-deductible spending within Australian clubs

The Guardian

26 Nov 2023

It is part of a scheme that the anti-gambling campaigner Tim Costello says is Australia’s most shameless rort.

“When I learned what was going on, I felt really, really angry,” Mitchell says. “Pokies, to put it bluntly, have got people committing suicide. It’s led to divorces. It’s got people on welfare and food bank parcels. And yet, it’s able to present itself as a community benefit. From my point of view, it was totally misleading.”


Poker machine losses in pubs and clubs hit $14.5bn

The Weekend Australia

8 Oct 2023

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief executive Carol Bennett said the figures were shocking and some states were dragging their heels on reforms to control problem gambling.

“Australians already lose more to poker machines per capita than any other country in the world and these staggering new loss figures show an industry that is out of control,” Ms Bennett said. “And these figures don’t even count poker machine losses in our casinos.”

Ms Bennett said the extent of poker machine losses were “causing enormous damage in our communities, way beyond financial loss.”


Tasmanian pokies losses revealed for 2022-23, gambling reform advocates call for crackdown

Herald Sun

10 Oct 2023

The team at Monash measured losses in five states. The AGR said figures for the ACT and the Northern Territory were not available. Poker machines are not allowed in pubs and clubs in Western Australia.

“Australians already lose more to poker machines per capita than any other country in the world [and] these staggering new loss figures show an industry that is out of control. These figures don’t even count poker machine losses in our casinos,” AGR CEO Carol Bennett said.


You want money laundering with that? Minns’ pokie policy jumps the shark

Mandarin Premium

18 Oct 2023

There are times in public policy when even the most practised suppression of the ethical gag reflex is tested to its outer limits. On Tuesday, the ethical stench surrounding the NSW Minns government’s position on poker machines had many reaching for the Buscopan Forte to cope with the nausea.

“Gambling costs aren’t just measured in dollars; there are also family impacts including time away from loved ones, impacts on physical and mental health, and community impacts,” lamented David Harris, the NSW minister for gaming and racing.


New analysis on link between gambling and suicide

ABC Listen

12 Sept 2023

New research has shed light on the link between gambling and suicide, after analysis of Coroner's Court cases in Victoria.

Advocates for gambling reform say it supports anecdotal evidence of what they're seeing on the ground, and they're calling for urgent action from state and federal governments.


Advocates welcome gambling credit ban, but question lotto exemption

The New Daily

13 Sept 2023

Carol Bennett, CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, told The New Daily that Australians are the biggest online gamblers in the world.

“This is great legislation in the sense it addresses the need for a ban on credit, digital wallets and digital currencies,” she said.

“These are things that mean people are gambling with money they simply don’t have to lose.”


The ACT needs to go all in on cashless gambling now

The Canberra Times

31 Aug 2023

The ACT should be among the first jurisdictions in Australia to introduce significant gambling reform in the shape of a mandatory cashless gambling card.

The move would be groundbreaking, representing a major blow to a predatory gambling industry that costs Australians more than $27 billion in losses every year - more per capita than any other country on the planet.


After 25 years of losing, I’ve just had a win on the pokies


1 Aug 2023

Anti-gambling campaigner Tim Costello is full of praise for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' recently announced pokies reforms. Now he wants other leaders to follow suit.


Gambling signs banned at sport

Star Journal

13 July 2023

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief executive officer, Carol Bennett said this is essential especially when Greater Dandenong is facing a gambling related harm crisis.

“Gambling harms disproportionately impact a community who’re more vulnerable and City of Greater Dandenong has large number of vulnerable groups.

“As a local council, Greater Dandenong council has shown real leadership in supporting the community to resolve some of those harms.”



Channel 10

11 July 2023

Channel 10 reporter Daniel Sutton ran this story last night about the introduction of BetStop. It includes an appearance from Alliance CEO Carol Bennett who commented the register is ‘long overdue’.
Alliance Chief Advocate Tim Costello has welcomed the introduction.


Anthony Albanese wined and dined by betting giant Sportsbet

Financial Review

14 Nov 2023

Carol Bennett, chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, called for Mr Albanese to update the ministerial code of conduct to ban donations and other gifts from gambling companies.


Stakeholders call for club and poker machine reforms in ACT

Canberra Daily

9 Oct 2023

Canberrans lost more than $190 million on electric gaming machines in the nine months to March – a 13.8 per cent increase since 2018-19 – while residents of five other states lost $14.5 billion last financial year, according to new figures published by the Alliance for Gambling Reform today.

Carol Bennett, the Alliance’s CEO, urged the ACT Government to reduce gambling harm.

“We have significant losses in the ACT, when you consider that we’re in the cost-of-living crisis at the moment, and that money could be really well spent in the economy elsewhere,” Ms Bennett said. “Those losses are causing enormous harm to individuals, to families, to workplaces, to our community.”


How do we prevent young people from gambling?

ABC Listen

11 Oct 2023

A Conversation Hour not to be missed - "How do we stop young people gambling?' Listen to Alliance CEO Carol Bennett alongside a number of brilliant guest speakers and community members calling in to highlight the huge impact gambling online is having on young people.


Poker machine losses surge to a staggering, all-time high of $14.5billion

The Australian

8 Oct 2023

Australian gamblers lost more than $14.5bn on the pokies in pubs and clubs alone last financial year, significantly more than 2018-19, the last full financial year uninterrupted by Covid restrictions, a new analysis of gambling data finds.

Electronic gaming machine users in pubs and clubs around the country lost an average $4,417 per year, according to the numbers crunched by Monash University School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine on behalf of the Alliance for Gambling Reform.


Carol Bennett on Gold Coast Breakfast

ABC Gold Coast

14 Sept 2023

Alliance CEO Carol Bennett comments on the legislation to be introduced by the Anthony Albanese Labor Government to Parliament today which include a ban on credit card payments and fines for companies who don’t enforce it. While these reforms are significant, we would like to see them include lotteries ABC Gold Coast


CEO Carol Bennett - BetStop

ABC Radio Sydney

1 Sept 2023

Alliance CEO Carol Bennett speaks with James Valentine, on ABC Sydney Breakfast, welcoming the introduction of BetStop, how it works, and what more needs to be done from here. #BetStop #GamblingReform


Online gamble: new self-exclusion tool launched

ABC Listen

21 Aug 2023

It's taken eight years of campaigning, but a national self-exclusion programme for people gambling too much online is up and running from today.

It's called BetStop and it's supposed to reduce the growing harm associated with online gambling.

But some groups are calling for more to be done.


Endeavour Group seeks national coordination of 'harm minimisation' tech at gambling venues


20 July 2023

Endevour Group's call for state governments to implement a nationally coordinated FRT scheme is scary in the absence of appropriate regulation and controls. Alliance CEO Carol Bennett said “I don’t think the state gambling regulators have had their eyes on the ball when it comes to monitoring these matters like how data or facial recognition technology is used."


Tim Costello: BetStop ‘welcome’ but won’t help most vulnerable gamblers

The New Daily

10 July 2023

Gambling-reform advocate Tim Costello has welcomed the introduction of BetStop, a national self-exclusion register for betting, but said it is only the first step in ensuring people are protected from harm.


Australia is 'playing catch up' in gambling reform

Sky News Australia

2 July 2023

Alliance for Gambling Reform Chief Advocate Tim Costello says a blanket ban on gambling advertising, mirroring similar strategies in Italy, Spain and Belgium, is “absolutely feasible”. “Why should kids be literally being groomed with an adult product,” Rev. Costello told Sky News Australia.


'Captured' Minns Government not serious about pokies reform, says anti-gambling advocate


1 Nov 2023

Reverend Costello said these figures were “extraordinary” given the small population in the region and criticised the State Government for what he said was a lack of action on the issue.

“[Premier] Minns doesn’t want to reform pokies … Labor has five pokies venues, five in NSW, it’s too lucrative for them. They’re putting the party’s interest way before people’s interest.


NSW urged to end ‘shameless rort’ giving clubs a tax break for spending pokies revenue

The Guardian

10 Oct 2023

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s chief advocate, Tim Costello, said the state government needed to step in to take funding decisions away from clubs.

“I have said for a decade, this is the most shameless rort in Australia,” Costello said.

“The New South Wales government need to actually take this seriously and say: ‘This isn’t clubs’ money, this is New South Wales government money and we’re going to administer the scheme. You pay us. You are not branding it as your generosity.’”


What is gambling really costing you?

SBS News

16 Oct 2023

Listen to SBS News podcast on gambling harm where AGR Chief Advocate Tim Costello highlights Australia's world-leading staggering losses to gambling. "So gambling is our greatest public health issue."


Strong links between gambling and suicide need to be considered in reform

The Canberra Times

20 Sept 2023

New research undertaken by Federation University in collaboration with the Coroners Court of Victoria, examined the Victorian Suicide Register which revealed at least 184 suicides were directly related to gambling. There were another 17 gambling-attributed suicides by "affected others" such as family members.


Pokies reforms: Clubs push for review of ‘dated’ self-exclusion programs

The Age

11 Sept 2023

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief executive Carol Bennett said her organisation would welcome improvements.

She said a mishmash of different jurisdictions and gambling companies running their own programs had led to huge failures.

“There is a mismatch between the technology and some of these very outdated schemes that don’t really do what they were intended to do or have found to be in breach of the very purpose they were set up,” Bennett said.

“It really is an area that is very important to people who are harmed by gambling ... They need to feel confident in the system and, at the moment, it’s hard to say that.”


CEO Carol Bennett on signage laws in NSW

2GB Sydney

5 Sept 2023

Alliance CEO Carol Bennett joined Bill Woods on 2GB Sydney to discuss the ‘new’ signage laws in NSW. “The Irony is that this was already enabled under the Gambling Act of 2001, so it’s a bit of nonsense to suggest it’s a new measure.”


Gambling reform advocate says ads are ‘grooming’ kids as Australian broadcasters lobby against total ban

The Guardian

9 Aug 2023

Tim Costello has rejected claims from commercial broadcasters that a total ban on gambling ads could threaten their viability, arguing the true “existential crisis” is allowing “grooming of kids by these ads”.

The chief advocate of the alliance for gambling reform has urged Labor and the Coalition to back a total ban on gambling advertisements, acknowledging they are “very worried about taking on channels Seven, Nine and 10” but a bipartisanship push could ensure they “can’t be picked off” in the face of intense lobbying.


Victorian government announces laws to restrict gambling

ABC News

16 July 2023

The Victorian government has introduced new restrictions to poker machines including a pre-commitment limit of $100.


Online gambling self-exclusion register a ‘one-stop solution’ for those experiencing harm

Sky News

10 July 2023

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s Kate Seselja says a new self-exclusion register will enable people to be proactive in protecting themselves from online gambling companies.

“We have people who have been impacted for so long now, and they might self-exclude from one company,” Ms Sesejla told Sky News Australia.

“It’s just an exhaustive process.

“This is a one-stop solution, not only for people experiencing gambling harm but for those who want to proactively protect themselves from it.”


Gambling ads could be banned in Australia. Kate knows firsthand the cost of addiction.


29 June 2023

Kate Seselja vividly remembers the first time she played pokies. She was 18 years old and at a local club that had countless numbers of poker machines.

"At this time in the late '90s, NSW had rapidly become the pokies capital of Australia. It was something we would do socially with friends. But once it came on my radar, and I started using them and it quickly got out of hand," Kate tells Mamamia.

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