ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis has issued an apology to Dominic Perrottet after claiming the NSW Premier’s position on reforming gambling in NSW was a result of his “Catholic gut”.
“I wish to unreservedly apologise for my comments published in The Sydney Morning Herald today,” Landis said in a statement. “The comments were made during a phone call with a journalist late yesterday afternoon, who asked why I believe the Premier is so insistent on introducing a mandatory cashless system and other gaming reforms.”
Independent MPs, the anti-gaming lobby, senior cabinet ministers and religious groups have also criticised Landis for suggesting the Premier’s Catholic faith was behind his stance on gambling.
“I want to make it clear that in answering the question I misspoke and should not have referred to the Premier’s faith. This was not a premeditated comment or an intentional attack on the Premier personally, rather it was a poor attempt to explain that there is a lack of evidence for the policy and the Premier is a moral person who intrinsically wants to help those who are causing themselves harm,” the statement said.
“I contacted the Premier earlier today to apologise personally. I would like to take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise publicly for any offence caused.”
On Monday Landis was quoted as saying that Perrottet did not understand the complexities of gambling reform when it came to poker machines in clubs and that his proposed changes came from “his conservative Catholic gut rather than based on evidence”.
Perrottet described the comments as offensive to people of faith across the state.
“There is no place for comments like that in modern Australia,” Perrottet was quoted as saying.