The NSW Greens have echoed interstate counterparts revealing a pre-election proposal to phase poker machines out of pubs and clubs. Under the multi-billion dollar plan proposed by the NSW Greens in the lead-up to the March election – which currently has three MPs in NSW Parliament and 8 per cent of the vote – pokies would disappear from clubs across the state over the next decade.
The Pull the Pin on Pokies plan proposes to help venues access alternative revenue streams and redirect current revenue to support problem gambling services.
“Our plan would repair the harm pokies have wrought on our communities and reduce the social costs of gambling by at least $87 billion over a decade,” NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said. “We call on both major parties to commit to these urgently needed reforms ahead of the March election.”
Venues would pay more to the NSW Government under the plan, with a pokie “super tax” of 60 per cent across pubs and clubs, increasing by five per cent every year, for a “perpetual community fund”.
The Greens are also backing the introduction of a cashless gaming card, currently being trialled by Wests Newcastle and Aristocrat.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said he would seek advice on implementing the cashless gaming card but is yet to announce a full strategy on gaming reform ahead of the March election.
In the interim, The Greens propose the following plan:
- Replacing the $100m ClubGrants scheme by providing community grants of $70m per year directly from a new Poker Machine Reparations Fund.
- Investing 20 per cent of taxes into the communities most impacted by gambling harm.
- Establish an independent Gambling Harm and Research Advocacy Institute at $4m per year.
- Establish a Gambling Harm Legal Service at $4m per year.
- Invest $6.5m per year into gambling harm reduction services. Invest the majority of gaming tax into a perpetual community fund to produce annual revenue to fund services after poker machines are phased out.
The Islington Report, released by the NSW Crime Commission last month, found that while criminals are funnelling cash through the pokies every year, the amount was difficult to assess.
Elsewhere, the recently re-elected Tasmanian Government introduced Australia’s first statewide mandatory pre-commitment scheme for EGMs. Ahead of last month’s Victorian state election, Community Clubs Victoria Chief Executive, Andrew Lloyd received what he called “letters of comfort” from both Labor and the Coalition, supporting the status quo in the regulation of gaming. In Western Australia, while there are no clubs with EGMs, the WA Government has introduced a $10 betting limit on the main floor at Crown Casino from 1 July 2023, with tracking player gaming and time limits also on the cards.
Read the NSW Greens proposal here: