By Andrew Starke

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has called on Woolworths‘ shareholders to question why the retailer is Australia’s largest pokie machine operator and called on the company to protect children from gambling.

According to The Australian, The Senator has gathered the required 100 signatures to force the child-friendly motion on to the agenda at the company’s annual general meeting, scheduled for November 26 in Sydney.

Xenophon says Woolworths is Australia’s largest pokie baron, holding an interest in more than 11,000 machines across Australia.

"For the first time the Woolies board will have to justify their pokies policy," he told The Australian.

"Woolies being the biggest pokie baron in the country is at odds with its corporate image of being a community friendly brand."

In his letter to shareholders, Senator Xenophon said the grocery chain used meal deals and free entertainment to lure families into their gambling venues.

Once inside, children are exposed to the sights and sounds of gambling, he wrote.

Earlier this month, Coles agreed to redevelop its 95 venues across the nation to make them less attractive to children.

It will implement a six-step plan improving the management of its gaming facilities including the removal of advertising aimed at attracting families with children. 

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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