A whistleblower has warned RSL’s “massive” lobbying force. Sports and league clubs will leave suggestions for a gambling card that is “dead in the water before it gets going”.
Troy Stolz, a former Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Manager of ClubsNSW, has criticized the level of money laundering from poker machines in pubs and clubs over the past year.
The industry is fighting a proposal for a government gambling card – a pre-installed, registered card for gamblers – backed by Bergin’s report on money laundering at Crown casinos in Melbourne and Perth.
Stolz has warned that the proposal will spark tremendous lobbying by the politically networked industry that wields significant power in NSW.
“It’s massive,” said Stolz. “I believe that the likelihood of sensible or practical reform in the water is dead before it gets going, as the clubs will be running a campaign with the hotel association similar to the mandatory upfront commitment of the Gillard government [Andrew] Wilkie and [Nick] Xenophon. “
Key members of the NSW cabinet are linked to the hotel and club industry and may oppose the introduction of a playing card if the industry maintains its opposition.
Police Secretary David Elliott is a former executive of the Australian Hotels Association. He remained Director of Castle Hill RSL when he became a politician, but resigned from management when he became Minister in 2016.
Nationals vice chairman Paul Toole, also a former race secretary, is said to be close friends with Josh Landis, the current CEO of ClubsNSW. Landis himself worked as a Labor employee before moving to the industry association in 2009.
The club and pub industry lobby groups have long had close ties with key ministers and are often looking for supporters when they first come to parliament, especially when the MP has large pubs and clubs in his electorate.
Former Sports Secretary Paul Gibson was known in the Carr government as the “Secretary for Pubs and Clubs” even when he was a backbencher.
The former rugby player was able to raise tens of thousands of dollars and swell the Labor Party’s coffers through fundraising campaigns in which individual tax collectors and clubs participated. He has been a strong advocate of their interests throughout his career.
The AHA is famous for lavish year-end parties for NSW politicians, journalists, and staff where the alcohol flows freely.
As a result, the event brought news for the wrong reasons. Then opposition leader John Brogden faced questions about his behavior after an AHA party in 2005.
Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro has previously publicly stated that nationals will never endorse the gambling card and speculation about such a proposal “must be stopped immediately”.
ClubsNSW says this will have unintended consequences and that the sector was never the intended target of the Bergin report.
“The Bergin investigation was not about clubs or pubs, but about Crown and its appropriateness to operate a casino license with Barangaroo,” said a spokeswoman.
“In terms of the cashless playing card idea, it’s a non-starter. Commissioner Bergin temporarily pointed this out in her 800-page report on Crown and while it may sound like harmless government intervention to some, a mandatory gambling card would have significant unintended consequences. “
Proudly fights its own fight against ClubsNSW. Last year, he filed a lawsuit in federal court of bullying, bogus contracts, underpayment and other violations of the fair work law.
ClubsNSW previously announced that it would “vigorously defend” the allegation and was convinced of its position.
Stolz is now being sued for alleged breach of confidentiality, a claim he denies.
ClubsNSW is also proud to bring Liquor and Gaming NSW to federal court in an attempt to ensure communications with the gambling authority.
Stolz said the regulator’s website guarantees that such information will be kept confidential.
Breaking that promise would deter future whistleblowers from coming forward, he said.
Proud says the lawsuit has already cost him $ 250,000.
“It has undoubtedly taken its toll, but I still have some wind in my sails,” he said.
“We need more people to get out, not fewer people to get out. If alcohol and gaming decide to post information promised as confidential reporting portals when they post that information, no one will risk bringing legal action. “
According to Transparency International Australia, whistleblowers like Pride played a vital role in detecting money laundering.
Executive director Serena Lillywhite said the use of courts by the industry and its lobby group would have “a chilling effect on whistleblowers.”
“Whistleblowers need to be protected, supported, and confident that they will not be involved in court for speaking up and sharing information,” Lillywhite told the Guardian. “Without these assurances, whistleblowers will be reluctant to go ahead and disclose what they know, and the public will never know how big the money laundering problem is in Australia.”
Justin Field, an independent worker in the NSW House of Lords, said the government had previously stated that up to 20% of the money flowing through NSW poker machines could be linked to organized crime.
“When an industry investigates whistleblowers like that, it suggests they have something to hide,” Field said. “We’re getting to a point where we should have an in-depth investigation into the pokies industry in this state.”
“The reputation of the gaming industry is in ruins after the investigation into the Krone and the proven links to organized crime and money laundering. We know these connections also exist in the club and pub sector, as there are a large number of poker machines across NSW that fetch nearly $ 90 billion each year. “
ClubsNSW has been asked to comment.