NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has declared he won’t be “threatened” into backing down on gambling reforms and has vowed to push ahead with plans for a cashless gaming card.
- ClubsNSW says MPs who support gambling reforms could be targeted ahead of the state election
- A campaign has already been launched against independent Helen Dalton
- Mr Perrottet says the government is “focused on doing what’s right”
The powerful clubs lobby, ClubsNSW, has launched a political campaign against independent Murray MP Helen Dalton over her stance on gambling reform and has indicated other MPs could also be targeted.
But Mr Perrottet said he was standing firm on his commitment to introduce a mandatory cashless gaming card to the state.
The card system is designed to reduce the harm caused by gambling addiction, and, make it more difficult to launder money through pokies.
“We know where the destination is, we have made that abundantly clear and I’m not moving away from it,” the Premier said.
“What we’re not going to have is be threatened in relation to those changes, I lead a government that’s focused on what’s the right thing to do, not what’s politically expedient.
“This government’s not going to be threatened, my members are not going to be threatened, because we are focused on doing what’s right.”
Mr Perrottet said gambling reform was a “major societal issue” in the wake of a recent report by the NSW Crime Commission which found billions of dollars in “dirty” money was being put through the state’s poker machines every year.
The report found there was little evidence poker machines were being used for money laundering but it did find that criminals were feeding the proceeds of their illegal activity into pokies.
The report also found up to $95 billion was being put through NSW poker machines every year.
In a statement, ClubsNSW chief, Josh Landis, said the industry was committed to working with the government on gambling reform.
“Clubs across the state are anxious to find out what the government’s plans are in relation to moving towards cashless gaming and we look forward to seeing the details of their proposal,” he said.
But ClubsNSW remains opposed to the introduction of a mandatory cashless gaming card and Mr Landis indicated the organisation’s campaign against Ms Dalton could be replicated in other parts of the state.
“As our clubs continue to get back on their feet in the wake of COVID and floods, they are looking to their MPs for support — not additional barriers to their future viability,” Mr Landis said.
“The campaign in Helen Dalton’s electorate was launched following her repeated refusal to meet with her local clubs and her advocacy for policies that would be detrimental to the club industry, its workforce and the broader community.”
The campaign against Ms Dalton was launched yesterday after the former Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP signed on to a coalition of organisations seeking major reforms to curb problem gambling.
The targeted campaign is called “Helen, your attack on clubs is wrong”, with several clubs within her electorate signing on as third-party political campaigners.
Moama Bowling Club chief executive Paul Barnes, whose club is in Ms Dalton’s electorate, said local clubs were tired of being ignored by their MP.
“We have been asking to meet with Helen Dalton for weeks and instead of taking our calls she blindsided us,” he said.
“Our message to Helen is this — if you want reform, it has to be done in a way that brings the public and industry together along the journey.”