By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
Three federal members of parliament have begun a ‘Pokie Leaks’ campaign, urging whistleblowers within the gaming industry to share industry technology data with them.
Senator Nick Xenophon, Greens Senator Larissa Waters and independent MP Andrew Wilkie yesterday urged gaming industry insiders to share information with them, promising to protect their identities under parliamentary privilege.
The politicians plan to reveal any information received to the public, while protecting the identities of their sources.
“Pokie Leaks promises to shine a light into the dark corners of the pokies industry and finally give us answers to questions like how the industry deliberately creates and keeps on the hook gambling addicts, where all the money goes, and how it manages so effectively to manipulate politicians and political parties to leave it all well alone,” said MP Wilkie.
“If you have information to share, then contact our offices. We’ll keep your identity secret and will be able to use the information in our fight for meaningful gambling reform, including in the Parliament if necessary.”
Waters suggested that part of the campaign was also to shed light on the part the gaming lobby plays in the political sphere.
“Avoiding this kind of scrutiny is exactly why the gambling lobby donated hundreds of thousands to the old parties in the federal election.
“Until we get big money out of politics in Australia, the old parties will continue to serve their paymasters in the gambling lobby, and Australians will keep getting ripped off.”
The Pokie Leaks campaign was launched by the Alliance for Gambling Reform, in conjunction with the three politicians.
A spokesperson for the Alliance told TheShout: "The Alliance is not anti-gambling. We are simply concerned about the current programming of poker machines, and specifically, how these machines continue to create addiction in a high number of people who regularly use them.
"We welcome any opportunity to work to eliminate all the harmful features currently programmed into poker machines, but so far the industry response has been fairly dismissive."
The Gaming Technlogies Association responded overnight to the campaign, with the release of the following statement:
“Gaming is a highly regulated and scrutinised industry subject to regulatory and compliance oversight in all State and Territory jurisdictions.
“The gaming industry, government, venues and the community have been working together for years to create a properly regulated and responsible industry.
“The course of action being promoted today will do nothing to provide assistance to those who need it, unlike the venue and machine-based measures already in place to help address the incidence of problem gambling.”