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MP Greg Piper joins fight for gambling reform as $95 billion lost to pokies

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Ninety-five billion dollars is being gambled through electronic gaming machines annually in NSW clubs and hotels, with almost 4% of the state’s adult population now considered problem gamblers, a blight Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper says is destroying families. 

In what he hopes will be an important step toward the protection of vulnerable gamblers and the elimination of money laundering, the local member has welcomed the announcement of an independent panel into gambling reform. 

The call for action has come from Premier Chris Minns and Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris. 

The panel, chaired by former NSW Commissioner of Liquor, Gaming and RacingMichael Foggo, includes representatives from law enforcement, gambling and health experts, academics, industry representatives, as well as a consumer with lived experience. 

The group is expected to provide a balance of expertise and experience and hopefully ensure widespread implementation of a cashless gaming system. 

Following positive results during a widespread trial, the cashless gaming card has become a key recommendation of the NSW Crime Commission. 

It is aimed at stopping crime syndicates laundering billions of dollars through poker machines. 

Lake Macquarie state MP Greg Piper.

Mr Piper is also throwing his support behind a review of the ClubGRANTS scheme.  

Through the initiative, registered NSW clubs that earn $1 million or more in gaming machine profit each year are taxed, and the funding used for projects, services, and programs that benefit their community. 

Mr Piper believes the scheme lacks transparency and accountability and has failed to improve the lives of the very disadvantaged people it was introduced to help.  

“We welcome the opportunity for the panel to review it and deliver value-for-money for gaming tax revenue,” Mr Piper says. 

“Problem gambling is the cause of great distress in many families and destroys some. 

“Gambling reform was a key issue in the 2023 election and it is clear that the community have had enough.  

“The community are calling for real reform in this area.  

“Gambling reform has always been a difficult issue for major parties, I welcome the commitment of the government to addressing this issue.  

“The establishment of the independent panel is an important first step towards reform.” 

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