News National ‘Pokie-Leaks’: politicians beg public for insider tips

‘Pokie-Leaks’: politicians beg public for insider tips

People with inside knowledge are encouraged to get in touch with politicians. Photo: Getty
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Three federal politicians are calling on Australians to leak secret information relating to the poker machine industry.

The “Pokie-Leaks” campaign will see independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Greens Senator Larissa Waters and the NXT’s Nick Xenophon using parliamentary privilege to protect whistleblowers who come to them with secret information about industry tactics, poker machine design and payments to politicians.

The campaign is being conducted with the support of the Alliance for Gambling Reform — a group of business people, academics and politicians who want greater restrictions on Australia’s multi-billion dollar gambling industry.

Nick Xenophon census
Nick Xenophon is part of the group going after the pokies industry. Photo: Getty

Already, the leaks have begun, with Senator Xenophon’s Adelaide office receiving a USB containing information from inside a pokie machine, which could reveal allegedly addictive features currently programmed into modern poker machines.

“This information needs to be out there in the court of public opinion,” Senator Xenophon said.

“That’s where Pokie-Leaks comes in.

“If you know something that needs to be revealed, tell us, and with parliamentary privilege, we can tell everyone.”

Senator Waters argued Pokie-Leaks was necessary because the major political parties had been compromised by political donations from the gambling and hotel industries.

“Avoiding this kind of scrutiny is exactly why the gambling lobby donated hundreds of thousands to the old parties in the federal election,” she said.

“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.”

Gambling lobby avoiding scrutiny: Wilkie

Mr Wilkie said he was keen to support the initiative, especially after Clubs NSW recently dropped defamation proceedings against the ABC.

The Supreme Court had granted the ABC the right to access Clubs NSW’s financial records as part of a defamation case brought against the ABC by Clubs NSW.

But shortly after the ABC’s request was granted by the court, Clubs NSW dropped the case.

Tabcorp and Tatts duopoly had rights to operate 27,500 poker machines.
Poker machine revenue is also enjoyed by AFL clubs. Photo: AAP

“It was telling that Clubs NSW dropped its legal action against the ABC on account of the court discovery process and requirement to open its books to scrutiny,” Mr Wilkie said.

“This just goes to show the steps that this particular industry player will go to in order to avoid scrutiny, and of the need for whistleblowers to speak up.”

The politicians are launching Pokie-Leaks in Sydney today.

One of the attendees will be Shonica Guy, a former pokie addict of 14 years.

Ms Guy is suing Crown Casino and poker machine manufacturer Aristocrat for misleading and deceptive conduct under Australian consumer law.


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