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Gambling, General News

Calls for urgent amendments to the Gaming Machines Act to prioritise the reduction of rampant gambling harm

Wesley Mission 2 mins read

Media release

12 July 2023


Calls for urgent amendments to the Gaming Machines Act to prioritise the reduction of rampant gambling harm


Wesley Mission says the NSW Supreme Court’s citing of local community concerns surrounding the impact of additional poker machine applications in an area as being ‘irrelevant’ under the current Gaming Machines Act as deeply disturbing, highlighting the need for urgent changes to legislation.,


The Court made rulings in June 2023 over harm minimisation conditions the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) had placed on three venues which had applied for additional poker machines. In all cases, the Court ruled out these additional conditions on technical grounds and stated that under the legislation relied upon by the ILGA, ‘questions of the possible or likely impacts on the local community are irrelevant’. 


Wesley Mission CEO, Stu Cameron, says “It’s appalling that in NSW under current legislation, the inevitable and harmful impacts of additional poker machines in a community can be considered ‘irrelevant’. It speaks volumes of how woefully inadequate current laws are in their ability to protect everyday people from gambling harm.” 


“We call on the Minister for Gaming and Racing, David Harris, to take urgent action to update legislation that will empower the ILGA to impose harm minimisation measures lawfully and effectively.


“Wesley Mission’s previously released reform package includes a call to allow Council’s to have a say, on behalf of their local communities in every poker machine entitlement decision, and to have the right to appeal any of those decisions. It’s vital local voices are heard in any consideration of decisions that can have a profound negative impact on local communities – as the unchecked proliferation of poker machines does.


Cameron says, “We call on Minister Harris to amend the Gaming Machines Act and any other laws so that Councils can speak for their residents.”




Court ruling: 

Whitebull HTL Pty Ltd v Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority; Area Hotel UT Pty Ltd v Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority; The Griffith Hotel Pty Ltd v Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority - NSW Caselaw 


ILGA notification: 

ILGA places interim measures on gaming machine applications - Liquor & Gaming NSW 


Put Pokies in their Place: 

Put pokies in their place | Wesley Mission 



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.

Rev Stu Cameron is available for interview.

Media contacts:

Anne Holt on 0418 628 342 or








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