WAGGA Wagga MP Daryl Maguire has hit back at criticism of the NSW Government by Greens MLC Justin Field over information about the impact of poker machines in pubs on gamblers.
It was recently revealed that punters in pubs in the Snowy Valleys local government area lost $754,124.76 in the last three months of 2016, and Mr Field, who purchased data revealing these figures, had the following to say: “The data found pokies in clubs and hotels took $2 billion from the NSW community. The Greens’ first purchase of both hotels and pubs data shows these de facto casinos on neighbourhood street corners are ripping off billions from local people and communities.”
“Despite having enormous losses on pokies, NSW has some of the least transparent access to specific information on specific venues and their impacts on communities. NSW, Victoria and Queensland all have similar requirements for the collection of data but only NSW hides the true cost of pokies by making people purchase data and hiding venue-specific data with aggregation and anonymity.
“If there are clubs and pubs doing the wrong thing by the community and having a disproportionate impact on people and communities, then we should have the right to hold them to account.”
However, Mr Maguire said that the Greens’ disdain for pub and club patrons was well known.
“They (the Greens) are really just inner-city Sydney snobs who look down their nose at everyone else,” he said.
“The government is interested in real help for people who have a problem with gambling, not joining the Greens in their crusade to shut down pubs and clubs.”
“Liquor and Gaming NSW provides free yearly data on gaming machine numbers and turnover in each NSW local government area which you can find in the annual report of the NSW Department of Justice.”
Mr Maguire said the NSW Government had committed $23 million to problem gaming initiatives over this financial year, including face-to-face counselling at more than 200 locations across NSW.
“The Government will this year undertake a major study into the extent of problem gambling that will examine all forms of gambling, not just poker machines,” he said.