NSW Greens push for transparency in poker machines

The Greens are urging everyone to have a social responsibility when it comes to poker machine gambling.
The Greens are urging everyone to have a social responsibility when it comes to poker machine gambling.

The public should engage in active lobbying, NSW Greens member Justin Field said in response to statistics highlighting the overwhelming presence of gaming machines across the state. 

“We all have a responsibility to ensure poker machines do not cause community harm,” Mr Field said.

“Communities have far more agency to solve this problem when they have access to this information.”

The most recent statistics, purchased from NSW Liquor and Gaming by the Australian Greens, reveal gaming machines made $16,719,642 profit in the Palerang/Goulburn-Mulwaree region over 2015-16. The figure covered six premises and 364 electronic gaming machines. 

In the Yass Valley/Gundagai region, 147 machines raked in nearly $5 million in profit.

Mr Field, along with Gambling Impact Society (GIS) social worker and executive Kate Roberts, and psychologist Barbara Bicego, will hold a screening in Braidwood to discuss Ka-Ching, a documentary which explores the addictive and political nature of poker machines. 

The documentary has been screened in Parliament House and will continue to play in towns throughout NSW. 

“There needs to be more transparency,” he said. “We had to buy these statistics, it should already be available to the public.

“I know how important clubs are in local communities, particularly regional areas. One in 10 poker machines world wide is in NSW, which is phenomenal. The machines are being recognised as being addictive. Some describe it as playing to extinction.” 

The Post contacted Goulburn Workers Club CEO Brett Gorham regarding current numbers and information about any recent machines acquired. He had not responded by the time of going to press.

“While it is generally a socially acceptable activity, it is not necessarily a safe activity for all,” Anglicare’s gambling help counselling service coordinator, Helen Ford said.

“Effects can be far reaching and include family, friends, and the wider community.”

Ms Ford said providing community awareness is an important tool to reduce problem gambling. 

Having just drafted a bill for the NSW government on the effects of poker machines, Mr Field plans to encourage a “free, more granular level of information”.

Ka-Ching will screen at the National Theatre, Braidwood on March 23 at 7pm.