The Greens have called on NSW’s Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to immediately suspend Woolworths’ poker machines licences following media reports an internal investigation confirmed staff at Woolworths-owned hotels have spied on patrons in order to boost profits.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the investigation found staff in 22 Woolworths-owned pubs in three states collected personal information on high turnover pokies players and shared the data among its pubs to enable staff to encourage them to increase their losses.
NSW Greens MLC and Gambling Harm Spokesperson said Woolworths had acted in a predatory and morally bankrupt manner and the regulator should immediately suspend the corporate’s pokies licences.
“The creation of secret dossiers that exploit vulnerable people and boost gambling profits is totally unacceptable,” he said.
“I’m calling on the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to act on the findings of this internal investigation and suspend Woolworth’s pokies licences right now.
“If the big corporates won’t do the right thing, the NSW Government should step in and protect people and communities from exploitation.
“This is predatory behaviour from a big company that owns thousands of poker machines and target some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Woolworths has no social licence to act in this way
“The drive for profit in Woolworths’ hotel business creates an incentive for this type of predatory and unacceptable behaviour. They have abandoned care about people or communities in the pursuit of profit at any cost.
“Continuing to operate poker machines given this scandalous behaviour is inconsistent with community expectations. This is not why many Mum and Dad shareholders invested in Woolworths, a company that trades on a family-friendly image.
“It’s time for the gambling regulator to step in and show it will act in the best interests of vulnerable people and communities,” Mr Field said.
A list of Woolworths-owned hotels (as of June 2017) compiled by the Greens is available here: