Clubs are operating mini casinos across the city and state where every single day, criminals wash their proceeds of crime and people’s lives are destroyed on electronic gaming machines, including through domestic violence, suicide and bankruptcy. At the same time, clubs receive massive tax breaks on gaming revenue under programs described by some as ‘rorts’. Not only has little been done to address these problems, in the last decade plus, the major parties have signed memoranda of understandings with the industry that maintain the status quo.
There are a range of reasons why clubs have maintained a stranglehold on decision makers in New South Wales and last week Parliament passed laws to close loopholes that allow them to make political donations. I successfully moved amendments to extend prohibitions to club CEOs and directors as they can have bonuses linked to gaming revenue. I negotiated amendments to limit exemptions in the bill that would have let clubs still provide office space, information technology and services like food and beverage to political parties and candidates.
There is a lot of work to do to stop the damage being caused by the state’s poorly regulated gambling industry. I welcomed the current multi-partisan approach and reaffirmed my commitment to working with all members to get reform.