It would appear ClubsNSW is not having a good year, and today’s announcement that the NSW government has proposed a gambling reform policy that would ensure all poker machines in the state become cashless by 2028, hasn’t made it any better.
ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis recently made comments suggesting that NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s religion was behind his gambling reform ideas.
Mr Landis later said he unreservedly apologised for his comments, which were published in The Sydney Morning Herald. ‘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.
ClubsNSW CEO ‘misspoke’ then sacked
‘I want to make it clear that in answering the question I misspoke and should not have referred to the Premier’s faith.’
Three hours later, ClubsNSW announced that after careful consideration, the Board made the decision to end Mr Landis’ employment with ClubsNSW with immediate effect, noting: ‘The Board acknowledges Josh Landis’ exemplary service to the industry over more than 15 years through some very difficult times. We genuinely wish him all the best on his future endeavours.’
Snap cabinet meeting
Following a snap Sunday cabinet meeting, Mr Perrottet has revealed that gambling venues would be forced to make their pokies cashless by 2028 if the Coalition wins the March state election. He has been reported to have said: ‘We’ve had people throw their life savings down poker machines and that has to change.’
Mr Perrottet said the plan is about looking after the vulnerable. ‘This is about stopping money laundering and at the same time ensuring our nightlife in the city and our pubs and clubs thrive.’
He acknowledged it would be a difficult transition for some venues. ‘The discussions I’ve had with the industry have been incredibly constructive. I’ll work to ensure no-one is left behind, that no jobs are lost,’ he said.
ClubsNSW concerned about significant costs and technical challenges
ClubsNSW responded to the announcement by saying they are concerned about the significant costs and technical challenges associated with the Coalition’s proposal to implement a mandatory cashless gaming system.
‘We’re particularly concerned about the implications for small, regional clubs and the impact this will have on jobs across the industry,’ said a spokesperson. ‘ClubsNSW is committed to working with whomever wins the March election to combat problem gambling and keep criminals out of gaming venues.’
So far Labor opposition leader Chris Minns has only committed to a limited trial of cashless gaming technology if he wins office.