The NSW Greens have called on the NSW Liberal and National Parties to rule out signing a new Memorandum of Understanding with Clubs NSW following the announcement of a record fine for an Illawarra Club.
The Wollongong based Steelers Rugby League Club has been fined $100,000 for using free alcohol and large cash advances disguised as purchases to induce gamblers to spend more money on the clubs poker machines.
The club’s former secretary Scott Miles, who is currently serving a jail sentence for stealing from the club to fund a gambling habit, has been banned from the clubs industry for life.
The Steelers Club Chairman Peter Newell OAM is also the Chairman of Clubs NSW.
The decision by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority describes the breaches as “serious and systemic, and there were consumer harms posed by unlawfully incentivising gamblers and obscuring credit transactions.”
NSW Greens MP and gambling harm spokesperson Justin Field said, “the seriousness of the breaches raise significant concerns about the Governance of the club and calls into question the efficacy of the NSW Coalition’s special deal with the clubs industry in NSW.
The Steelers Club has 101 poker machines and is ranked 147 out of 1101 poker machine clubs in NSW in terms of profit.
Mr Field said, “this is a good decision by the regulator, but the level of the fine pales into insignificance when compared to the approximately $120 million a year in pokies losses in the Wollongong area alone.
“These are serious breaches that could have life threatening consequences on people suffering from gambling addiction. We know that gambling addiction can lead to housing insecurity, family breakdowns and violence, and even suicide.
“the NSW Government has a clear 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.
“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.
Justin Field is available for interview.
Media contact: Justin Field 0439 205 835