The NSW Greens have described recent changes to NSW poker machine laws as a total failure as new figures show clubs and hotels in the state are set to reap increased profits further exacerbating community harm from the machines.
Poker machine profits in NSW are set to reach almost $7bn by 2021 growing more than 12% over the next four years. Hotels are the big winners forecast to grow profits by a massive 16% over the same period to $2.58 billion while clubs will reap 10% more by 2021 to $4.34 billion.
The figures are the first to be released since major reforms passed the parliament in March 2018.
Greens Gambling Harm spokesperson Justin Field said, "these massive profit forecasts show a total failure of Government policy to address gambling harm within our community. Poker machine harm in NSW is set to get worse, not better, and that's shameful.
"NSW already has the highest density of poker machines in the world and the highest gambling losses per person outside of dedicated gambling destinations like Macau. These losses are set to get worse under the NSW Government's policy.
"It's clear the NSW Government has a conflict of interest when it comes to regulating the pokies in the public interest by having a signed agreement with Clubs NSW that in effect protects their profits.
"There are systemic problems with the pokies industry that have become clear by the recent tragic death of Gary Van Duinen and reports of deliberate machine tampering and questionable conduct by machine operators in clubs, pubs and casinos in NSW and other states. The Government is failing to address these issues.
"Given the significant harm caused by poker machines, and the huge amount of money being stripped out of local communities, these agreements should not be signed.
"I'm calling on both the Coalition and Labor Party to rule out a formal or informal agreement with Clubs NSW or any gambling body in NSW in the lead up to the 2019 NSW State Election," Mr Field said.
See profit forecasts from the 2018 Budget Background Papers here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1j8qTnkVilB58e-RT3yTDnhtFoMMgDFWKTRj_cfMTb78/edit?usp=sharing
Link to MOU between NSW Government and Clubs NSW: https://www.clubsnsw.com.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/advocacy/mou-1014.pdf?sfvrsn=2