Clubs Up Pressure On Government Support For Wilkie’s Licence To Punt

Clubs, hotels, casinos and poker machine manufacturers are today escalating the campaign against the Gillard Government’s support for Andrew Wilkie’s mandatory pre-commitment technology on poker machines.

The Wont Work, Will Hurt Campaign is aimed at the broad community including non-club and hotel goers. The campaign will make clear that mandatory pre-commitment won’t help problem gamblers, but will hurt thousands of clubs and the communities they support.

Television ads featuring local community members will go to air next week in regional NSW and Queensland, as well as in the electorates of key Independents Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.

As well, 1.5 million newsletters in 31 key electorates in NSW, QLD and Victoria will be delivered to households by the end of this week. The newsletters feature the face and name of local MPs and call on them to vote against the licence to punt experiment being demanded by Andrew Wilkie.

Clubs Australia Executive Director Anthony Ball said the industry has lost patience with Labor MPs who privately reject mandatory pre-commitment but publicly support its introduction.

“Clubs in our suburbs and towns are tired of hearing the words of Andrew Wilkie being mouthed to them by their local MP.

“They didn’t vote for Andrew Wilkie and they won’t be made the victim of Wilkie’s weekly promise to withdraw support for the Government unless his legislation is passed through parliament.

“Clubs are calling on their local MP to be their voice in Canberra, instead of being Mr Wilkie’s messenger.

“Ultimately these MPs are going to have to make a decision. They will either listen to clubs, problem gambling researchers, organisations such as the Salvation Army and community and sporting groups, or they will listen to Andrew Wilkie.

“Mandatory pre-commitment simply won’t work. Common sense says you don’t help a problem gambler by giving them a card to continue their destructive gambling addiction.

“Social gamblers are making it very clear to clubs they will not be participating in any scheme that involves them registering on a government database. The impact of that will be the loss of $6 billion in annual income from clubs and hotels.

“That will be a devastating blow to the hundreds of thousands of people employed by clubs and hotels, and the thousands of sporting and community groups who rely on clubs for funding.”