Electronic gaming machines in clubs and pubs are responsible for considerable community damage with impacts like bankruptcy, family breakdown, domestic violence, depression, suicide, retrenchment and crime to support habits. Up to 75 percent of poker machine revenue comes from problem and at-risk gamblers and contributions from the proceeds of crime are estimated in the “billions”. The NSW Crime Commission last week said that money laundering in poker machines in clubs and pubs hampers criminal investigations and convictions > HERE.
But meaningful reform has been rare. The government’s recent bill into clubs’ operations included powers to use facial recognition technology (FRT) and other measures that harm minimisation experts say will hurt problem gamblers and their families. My decision to move amendments to force clubs and pubs to adopt player cards led the government to pull the bill, but the Premier has since committed to introducing the cards. I hope Labor will make a similar commitment. Claims that the technology is not available lack credibility when the house supported my amendments to bring forward player cards in casinos to two years’ time and Tasmania’s player card system will start by the end of 2024 > HERE.
Powerful lobbying by clubs and pubs to protect their poker machine revenue at the expense of families, crime enforcement, community, live music and small business led me to join with independent MPs Greg Piper from Lake Macquarie and Joe McGirr from Wagga Wagga to call for a special commission of inquiry into the gambling industry. The Sydney Morning Herald report > HERE.
It is time to break the stranglehold clubs and pubs have on gambling policy and for real harm minimisation measures to start.
Link up with the national Alliance for Gambling Reform campaigning for changes to advertising and gambling rules across the country > HERE.