NSW Greens’ plan to phase pokies out of pubs

The NSW Greens have revealed plans to phase poker machines out of pubs and clubs amid increasing calls to clean up the industry.

Under the plan, pokies would disappear from pubs across New South Wales within the next five years, and from clubs over the next decade.

Released on Sunday, the ‘Pull the Pin on Pokies’ strategy includes helping venues access alternative revenue streams and redirecting current revenue to support problem gambling services.

The party is also backing the introduction of a cashless gaming card, currently being considered by the government to crack down on alleged money laundering.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann described gambling in NSW as “out of control”.

“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,” she 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 government under the plan, with a pokie “super tax” of 60 per cent across all pubs and clubs, increasing by five per cent every year.

The change would deliver an additional $3.4 billion in revenue over five years, which would be used to fund gambling harm reduction and other community-based services, according to the Greens.

A ClubsNSW spokesman hit back at plans to tax venues more, saying clubs in NSW alone were already delivering $1.2 billion into government coffers every year.

“While some 92 per cent of people in NSW visit a club at least once per year, only eight per cent of voters put the Greens first,” the spokesman said.

“It seems the public is happy with clubs the way they are and understand a vote for the Greens is a vote for economic ruin.”

Adding his voice to the release of the Greens’ plan was former head of anti-money laundering at ClubsNSW turned whistleblower, Troy Stolz.

Mr Stolz is being sued by ClubsNSW for allegedly leaking internal documents which showed more than 90 per cent of gaming venues were not complying with money laundering regulations.

The 53-year-old who is also battling metastatic cancer, is due to appear at a Federal Court hearing on Monday.

“Money laundering in pubs and clubs across NSW is real and so is gambling harm, it cannot be ignored,” Mr Stolz said.

“The Greens have a plan to address these issues, whereas the Liberal and Labor parties only plan to serve their master, the gambling industry.”

A report released by the NSW Crime Commission last month found criminals are “funnelling billions of dollars of dirty cash” through the pokies every year.

The report’s top recommendation to tackle money laundering was to introduce a cashless gaming system.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has said he would seek advice on implementing a cashless gaming card but is yet to deliver a clear strategy for reform ahead of next year’s state election.

“It’s time to make the gambling industry pay for the damage it has caused communities across NSW,” Ms Faehrmann said.

“While other politicians hide in the corner when it comes to tackling the gambling industry, the the Greens will take them head on.”