Big Brother’s scare campaign shows just how deep the club industry will plummet

One of the many lies being peddled by ClubsNSW as it plots to sink our state’s overdue reform of our state’s poker machine addiction is that cashless technology poses some kind of serious Big Brother-style privacy threat.

According to the lobby group’s pre-election scare campaign, using a government-issued cashless card to flap on slot machines would “enable government bureaucrats to monitor your spending.”

ClubsNSW’s PR campaign is titled Gaming Reform The Right Way but would be more accurately known as Gaming Reform Our Way Only. The Flash claims: “A mandatory cashless gaming card would empower the government to monitor and track your gambling transactions, no matter how infrequently you gamble.

“Chance punters should not be forced to hand over personal information to the government to have a flutter.”

the herald is reluctant to republish such a spin, but does so to highlight the depth the industry will throw at it to scare the public and kill reform, as it successfully did in 2012 when then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard backed out of a deal with Independent Confederate Rep. Andrew Wilkie to introduce mandatory pre-commitment technology.

Clubs Australia also ran the same privacy campaign at the time, but their latest efforts cannot go unchallenged.

The truth is that no decision has yet been made on how cashless playing cards will be issued, how data will be collected and by whom it will be managed.


the herald actually agrees with the pub and club lobby that government should not be in charge of cashless card data. But the herald Lucy Cormack and Tom Rabe reported last week that the NSW government appears uninterested in collecting and managing the information, let alone tracking individual spending as the industry is suggesting. If confirmed when Premier Dominic Perrottet unveils his reforms shortly, it will prove a key element of the ClubsNSW fear campaign is unfounded.

However, any new system would have to be managed by someone. When a government department or agency is barred, three options remain: the gaming industry itself, the country’s major banks, or an independent public body. Big Brother’s scare campaign shows just how deep the club industry will plummet

Callan Tansill

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