Greens gambling spokesperson Cate Faehrmann MLC has called on the Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello to stand firm in the face of a predictable hissy fit by Clubs NSW and the Australian Hotels Association over attempts to make them take more responsibility for the harms caused by poker machines in their venues.
“It’s beyond overdue for pubs and clubs to take responsibility for the harm that poker machines cause in the community. Every day $18.7 million is lost through poker machines in NSW. That’s $6.4 billion per year,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“This hissy fit by Clubs NSW and the AHA is predictable and self-serving and I urge the Minister to continue his reforms to tackle poker machine addiction.
“People with a gambling addiction can be excluded via other means than facial recognition. With many of the most profitable clubs in NSW seeing annual profits of up to $100,000 on thousands of machines, pleas from clubs about going broke are disingenuous to say the least.
“Clubs NSW and the AHA are crying poor, yet the week after venues reopened in June, NSW Clubs took slightly more than an average than at the same time last year, while hotels turnover was up by 31 per cent.
“Investigations by the ABC have also uncovered extremely disturbing stories of what lengths people addicted to poker machines will go to continue playing a single machine, including urinating on themselves.
“People who are addicted to poker machines can lose everything as they feed their addiction, including hundreds of thousands of dollars, their jobs, their loved ones and tragically, even their lives.
“We are in a recession with skyrocketing unemployment, with data revealing an alarming number of people spent a good portion of their superannuation withdrawals on gambling. The government and clubs and pubs have a duty of care during COVID-19 to support those people who take the hard step of self-excluding from poker machines because of the damage it is causing to their lives.
“The business model of clubs and pubs with poker machines is based upon profiting off gambling. If the majority of people can gamble in venues without becoming addicted then there should not be any opposition to these important reforms,” said Ms Faehrmann.
Contact: Jacob Miller 0428 837 292