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Ka-Pow! Wham! Pow! – Pollies, pastors, partners and the public literally take swing at pokies this Gambling Harm Awareness Week*

Wesley Mission 3 mins read

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 Ka-Pow! Wham! Pow! – Pollies, pastors, partners and the public literally take swing at pokies this Gambling Harm Awareness Week*

MEDIA CALL – 8.45am Thursday 19 October 2023, Martin Place

Event:             Giant Poker Machine Piñata Martin Place, Macquarie St end
Time:              8.45am media call, 9am start piñata

Wesley Mission CEO and leading gambling reform advocate, Rev Stu Cameron will be joined by politicians, gambling reform partners, people with gambling harm lived experience and the public, as they take a swing at the poker machine Piñata - a light-hearted action, with a serious purpose.

With NSW being asked What’s gambling costing you? this Gambling Harm Awareness Week, Wesley Mission research and analysis provides a simple, brutal answer - a hell of a lot!

Gambling harm goes far beyond financial hardship.  It has a significant, detrimental impact on physical and mental health as well as on relationships and work. 

The bespoke piñata contains no lollies or treats – it is filled with eviction notices, overdue bills and photos of broken families. It is a small illustration of the extent of harm experienced, which we can only estimate based on the $21.6 million lost per day in NSW in the first half of 2023. 

Wesley Mission’s latest survey results of community attitudes towards gambling reform found more than 75% of respondents want the NSW government to be doing more to address gambling harm.

Cameron, says, “That number is rising, despite welcome, if minor changes such as the long-overdue ban on external signage from 1 September 2023. The Minister and Premier must listen.

“There are many options to reduce harm while they wait for the testing of mandatory cashless gambling systems.”

Wesley Mission is committed to real action to reduce and prevent gambling harm in NSW. 


Available for interview


  • Wesley Mission CEO Rev Stu Cameron


  • Lived experience gambling harm (poker machines) Greg Ianni


  • MPs attending: Helen Dalton, Alex Greenwich, Jenny Leong, Aileen MacDonald, Joe McGirr,


  • Supporters attending: Suicide Prevention Australia, Unions NSW, FAMS, NSW Council of Churches


For more information, please contact Anne Holt on 0418 628 342 or 

** In 2019, the Upper House of NSW Parliament directed the Minister to rename the awareness week to Gambling Harm Awareness Week, the same as South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, ACT and New Zealand. Instead, following what we believe to have been industry feedback, the week and all the gambling services in NSW were renamed GambleAware. This is also the name of a bookmaker funded charity in the UK. The NHS severed relations with UK GambleAware in 2022 because of its direct links to gambling organisations. 



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