The Greens NSW have today unveiled a detailed plan to rid pubs and clubs of poker machines, tackle the corrosive influence of the gambling lobby and address the serious harm inflicted on individuals, families and communities.
The Greens Plan to Pull the Pin on Pokies will:
- Create a pokies ‘super tax’ that pulls in an additional $3.4 billion in revenue over 5 years
- Establish a Poker Machine Reparations fund to invest in communities most impacted by gambling and expand harm reduction services.
- Introduce a mandatory state-run cashless gambling card, with harm reduction measures including pre-commitment of time and spending and a statewide exclusion register.
- Phase pokies out of pubs over 5 years and clubs over 10, providing financial support to small pubs and clubs to help establish alternative revenue streams.
- Reduce the social costs of gambling to NSW by at least $87 billion over a decade.
- Prohibit political donations from all organisations that profit from gambling.
Greens MP and gambling harm reduction spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said:
“Gambling is out of control in NSW. Our state has nearly half of all of Australia’s poker machines and loses more per person to gambling than anywhere else in the world.”
“Upon closer examination, the justification to go easy on clubs and pubs because of how much the state receives in pokies revenue doesn’t stack up. Gambling harms in NSW are set to cost the state over $9 billion this financial year, dwarfing the small amount doled out in club grants and the $2 billion in taxes the state can expect to receive.
“Our plan would repair the harm pokies have wrought on our communities and reduce the social costs of gambling by at least $87 billion over a decade.
“We call on both major parties to commit to these urgently needed reforms ahead of the March election and act on the clear and present danger that poker machines, and the powerful gambling lobby, pose to individuals, families and communities across NSW.
“One aspect of this policy is the creation of a reparation fund to, amongst other things, direct money raised via poker machines towards harm reduction and support services for those impacted by gambling.
“It’s time to make the gambling industry pay for the damage it has caused communities across NSW. While other politicians hide in the corner when it comes to tackling the gambling industry, the Greens will take them head on,” Ms Faehrmann said.
Troy Stolz, whistleblower and former head of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance at ClubsNSW said:
“Money laundering in pubs and clubs across NSW is real and so is gambling harm, it cannot be ignored.
“The Greens have a plan to address these issues, whereas the Liberal and Labor parties only plan to serve their master, the gambling industry.
“How can politicians ignore the serious findings of the Bergin Report and the Crime Commission report?
“The Liberal and Labor parties still haven’t ruled out signing agreements with the gambling industry. The only agreement they should be making is with the communities that are being devastated by poker machines,” said Troy.
2017 Research by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation found that for every $1 lost to gambling around $1.20 in social costs is incurred. The NSW Budget assumes that pokies revenue in pubs and clubs will reach approximately $7.7 billion this financial year, which would incur social costs of $9.3 billion.
The Clubgrants website states that the program has delivered over $1 billion in funding over 24 years since 1998.
For Cate Faehrmann: Andrew Bradley
p: 0412 500 009