Loose cannon Elliott shoots Perrottet in the foot over gambling reform

It was only a matter of time before one of the biggest buffoons in NSW politics, Transport Secretary David Elliott, chimed in on the cashless playing card debate.

Elliott — a former executive vice chairman of the Australian Hotels Association in NSW and a former director of the Castle Hill RSL Club, whose roughly 300 poker machines were ranked the ninth most profitable in the state in the six months to May 2022 — has made it clear that he’s not a fan of Premier Dominic Perrottet’s bold vision was to make all poker machines cashless.

Elliott also helpfully confirmed that the NSW Nationals are also unconvinced by Perrottet’s idea.

Casting aside loyalty to his leader, Elliott told reporters he had seen no evidence the cards were appropriate political intervention and warned against “demonizing” one form of gambling, as it would lead addicts to other forms such as instant Scratches or horses could push.

“I’m curious to see where in the world the cashless card has worked,” Elliott said. He argued that a grandmother shouldn’t be barred from putting $20 into a poker machine after a session of Lawn Bowls – a highly misleading scenario since no player would be barred from playing with cashless technology. Elliott went on and on, in what seemed to be the core argument that if the government couldn’t solve the problem of gambling in all forms of betting in Australia and around the world, then it shouldn’t bother to deal with Discuss poker machines in NSW.


But not once in his dishonest tirade did Elliott admit that a cashless card is actually meant to fight the billions of dollars in dirty money that are flushed through the state’s poker machines each year. The NSW Crime Commission and NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb have both said the link between crime proceeds and poker machines is a serious problem and have hailed the potential of non-cash cards to deal with it. Any flow-on effects that reduce problem gambling would be an added bonus, but that’s not the primary intent of cashless technology.

Asked directly on Friday if he supports the cards, Elliott replied disingenuously, “I think we need to have a very broad debate.” It’s not hard to see which side of that debate Elliott would fall on given the details of Perrottet’s plan to be debated by the cabinet shortly.

Elliott is an easygoing gun who has shown little loyalty to Perrottet but has excelled in the art of political self-destruction. This is a minister who infamously went to bed during tense negotiations between the state government and unions in February, which ended in a highly disruptive shutdown of Sydney’s rail network. This is also a minister who regularly attacks his colleagues and last year called Treasurer Matt Kean a “boy” unable to do a “man’s job”. This is also a minister who phased out his own Liberal Party membership, temporarily unable to register for the shortlist.

Elliott faced a tough pre-selection battle last year and Perrottet encouraged him to keep fighting. But the 52-year-old former army captain found himself without enough support to contest the Castle Hill seat, which is dominated by members of Perrottet’s far-right faction.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/loose-canon-elliott-shoots-perrottet-in-foot-over-gambling-reform-20230106-p5cavk.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Loose cannon Elliott shoots Perrottet in the foot over gambling reform

Callan Tansill

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