ClubsNSW boss attacks Dominic Perrottet over his religion

ClubsNSW boss attacks Dominic Perrottet over his religion

ClubsNSW on Monday announced a new gaming code of practice to come into effect in clubs from July 1, which will ban players if they show signs of problem gambling such as seeking credit, borrowing money or leaving children alone while playing poker machines.

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Perrottet said he supported any tightening of the rules, but seemed incredulous that the measures were not already in place. Asked if he was concerned that the industry now wants to deal with parents who leave their children in cars, Perrottet replied: “I might have thought so.”

“When I read the report, you would have thought that would already be the case,” he said. “But if it’s not, I welcome any move by clubs to make that change.”

Landis denied ClubsNSW had lost political capital in the contentious gambling reform debate despite the Premier and NSW Labor leader Chris Minns both confirming on Monday they would not sign pre-election gambling policy deals with the lobby group.

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This development makes the election in March the first in more than a decade in which the influential club organization did not obtain any guarantees from the Liberal Party on policy statements for the next term of government.

Perrottet said on Monday he had no plans to follow predecessors Barry O’Farrell, Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian in signing a memorandum of understanding with ClubsNSW.

“I have no intention of doing that. It’s not something that’s on my mind in any way,” Perrottet said.

Minns also said that NSW Labor would not sign any deal before a possible election victory.

“Absolutely not. It would not be appropriate as we are conducting a major independent review as well as a trial of cashless games,” he said.

Both Perrottet and Minns said they would not sign any deal with ClubsNSW until matters outlined in a landmark NSW Crime Commission report were addressed.

While the prime minister has repeatedly promised to make the state’s poker machines cashless, he is yet to outline a policy framework or present a plan to the cabinet.

Minns said Labor had been clear with voters about its policies, which included a mandatory cashless gambling trial of 500 machines, a gradual reduction of machines and responsible gambling officers in large venues.

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns says his party has not signed a memorandum of understanding with ClubsNSW.Credit: Dominic Lorrimer

The Labor leader also hit back at criticism from independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie, who told the Herald on Monday the opposition risked being “morally bankrupt” and unfit to govern by not backing statewide cashless gambling.

“A Tasmanian independent politician is asking NSW Labor to sign off on a policy from Dominic Perrottet that he hasn’t even released,” Minns said.

The lack of enthusiasm from both leaders for a memorandum of understanding with ClubsNSW comes after Landis reportedly told the lobby’s annual general meeting last year that he was optimistic about reaching a written agreement with both sides before the election.

Under its new code of conduct announced on Monday, Clubs NSW will conduct welfare checks on poker machine players at least every three hours, clubs will have a designated responsible gaming officer, and family members will also be able to request exclusions for loved ones.

While clubs have always reported punters who leave children in cars while using poker machines, the new code will automatically block them from entering all clubs across NSW if they do so.

Landis told the Herald clubs that they are not against cashless games, but simply want further trials. He said that so far the two major parties have not refused to sign a memorandum or agreement.

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Asked if he was concerned about new analysis showing NSW residents lost more than $2.1 billion on poker machines in less than 100 days last year, Landis claimed there was no evidence that money came from people who cannot afford.

“If they spend that money on lollipops or they spend it on shoes… wouldn’t you be okay with that? The point is that people choose to play poker machines, they like it,” he said.

“We cannot support the community in the way that is expected of us north of $100 million a year through the sale of schnitzels and schooners. We rely on the revenue from games.

“I’m not worried about how much money is spent on poker machines, I’m worried about those people who can’t afford it… They’re a small minority, for whom we need to do more.”

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