Friday, 16 June 2023
Forum frustration – Government inaction at odds with community to call to action
An online forum hosted by gambling reform advocate, Wesley Mission, has highlighted public frustration with the delay in implementing a cashless card and the government’s radio silence on the proposed, and deemed unnecessary by the forum, trial of 500 of NSW’s 86,000 poker machines.
Wesley Mission CEO, Rev Stu Cameron says a groundswell of supporters logged on to hear from leading gambling reform advocates, including Rev Tim Costello and independent MP for Murray, Helen Dalton, to discuss the government’s progress on promised gambling reforms.
"A cashless card as recommended by the NSW Crime Commission will not only prevent money laundering but be a game changer for reducing gambling harm by allowing people to set safe and manageable loss limits on poker machines. The evidence is there that a cashless card will work.
“As a campaign action group, ‘Pokies. You’re Being Played’, is committed to working with the Minns Government to ensure the overwhelming community expectation around real gambling reform is met.”
Rev Cameron says there is no denying a broad-based gambling reform coalition is gaining momentum and will continue to actively campaign for genuine gambling reform in this term of parliament.
“Thousands are already on board and hundreds continue to sign up weekly to Wesley Mission’s ‘Pokies. You’re Being Played’ action group for reform on poker machines and the wider goal of reducing crushing rates of gambling harm in New South Wales.
“Together, we can act to prevent and reduce gambling harm. The community appetite for real and proportionate reform very much there.
Poker machine losses have increased approximately 50% (48.87%) in the five years to 2022 with poker machines plundering more than $8.1 billion from people in NSW last year, according to Wesley Mission analysis of ILGA (Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority) data.
‘Pokies. You’re Being Played’ is a grass roots, broad coalition campaign to keep poker machine reform on the agenda. People can make a stand to support poker machine reform by signing up at:
Wesley Mission provides practical care and support for more than 130,000 people annually in NSW and across Australia, including help for people experiencing homelessness, local community action groups preventing suicide, and gambling and financial counselling among more than 120 programs. www.wesleymission.org.au
Rev Stu Cameron is available for interview.