Saturday, 17 September 2011

Is ClubsNSW worthy of anyone's trust?

ClubsNSW express a lot of opinions about the potential impacts of the proposed pokie reforms. Because of the cash generated by pokie gambling losses and the enormous tax breaks they get from State and Federal governments, they have a lot of money to spend to present their opinions. Can ClubsNSW management be trusted? If a recent release is truly their information then the answer is "no".

The Merriman-Webster dictionary defines "trust" as follows:
"assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something"
If a recent media release about Norway's gambling harm prevention measures is truly from ClubsNSW, my view is that it demonstrates that the people managing ClubsNSW can not be trusted. This untrustworthiness affects not only reporters who write stories but, more importantly the members of registered clubs. Readers can make up their own minds.

While this media release can not be found on the ClubsNSW web site, it appears to be fully reproduced on the web site of the NSW Womens Bowling Association Inc. Click on the picture below to read what the purported release says:
The headline is entirely false and I detailed why in the last PokieAct blog. The privileged Pokie Club lobby's love of the word "mandatory" and the false impression it delivers is on display yet again. This misleading marketing ploy was discussed in this PokieAct blog.

The statements that concern me most are the first and second paragraphs. Here they are:
"The Federal Government’s support for mandatory pre-commitment on club and pub poker machines has been dealt a massive blow with revelations that the problem gambling rate could rise by as much as 60% if introduced in Australia.

A study of 3,000 people in Norway, which is the only country to have mandatory pre-commitment on all poker machines, found that the current rate of problem gambling has increased from 1.3% in 2007 to the current 2.1% following the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment 2 years ago."
A 60% increase in problem gambling!
Oh My God!

Apart from the fact that there is no mandatory pre-commitment in Norway, this argument, cited as fact is wrong.

Slots / Pokies were removed from Norway in 2007.

So, of course, problem gambling rates were lower.

They were removed. It's no wonder that problem gambling rates increased in later years. Pokies or slots were re-introduced in later years. And of course, the incidence of problem gambling rose.

Furthermore, anyone reading the actual Norsk Tipping report knows that the statistics were for all gambling, not just slots/pokies. Other forms of gambling are accessed though what Norsk Tipping now refers to as Interactive Video Terminals. This demonstrates that if slots/pokies are removed that problem gambling actually declines. It does not increase by 60% as a result of mandatory pre-commitment. ClubsNSW management wants you to believe problem gambling goes up. This is wrong.

It's not true. It is a misrepresentation. It is false. It is deliberately misleading. It is bull shit.

The Norwegian ban on machines was discussed in the 24 March 2011 PokieAct blog. Obviously, ClubsNSW management never read it or read it and are intentionally distorting the facts.

How can ClubsNSW management, in good conscience, mislead their members with such a distortion? How can ClubsNSW management ever expect to be trusted as a result?

They can't.


Anonymous said...

Paul, if mandatory pre-commitment doesnt exist in Norway then why is Nick and Andrew saying it does?

Anonymous said...


A couple of things firstly the report you've read the Norsk Tipping annual report is not the actual research report it the operators spin on that report.

Secondly, the 2007 survey was conducted 1 month befor the pokies were removed. So it is a valid base line.

What is shows is that pokies don't problem gambling rather gambling in any form can facilitate problem gambling.

ClubsNSW reporting is exactly how the Norwegian media reported the study. I know that I'd trust the media over the spin put out by the operator Norsk Tipping who need to justify why their monopoly is valid

Finally as to your idiotic comment that their is no mandatory pre-commitment it just a game of semantics. The government sets a ceiling for player limits but the player can pre-commit to any limit below the ceiling or keep the default ceiling.

Its mandatory pre-commitment plain and simple.

Next time do your research!

PokieWatch said...

Nick and Andrew are not.

PokieWatch said...

Hard to identify all the Anonymous posters. (laughter)

Anonymous #2 wants to discount the source material from the government agency (Norsk Tipping) signed by all directors that actually conducts the gambling (and is independently audited) in favour of an anonymous media report. I will favour Norsk Tipping's audited statement.

Anonymous#2, there is no need to use epithets like "idiotic". The discourse on this blog has always been civil. Comments such as that will result in posts being deleted.

It is self evident from Anonymous #2's description that the system in Norway is not what is being proposed for Australia. No comment needed.

Anonymous said...

if Norway doesn't have mandatory pre-commitment, then why was Nick Xenophon citing it when speaking to the ABC:

Well, they won't if the scheme is designed properly... Norway has a system of pre-commitment which has made a real difference in problem gambling.

daniel said...

A decent society looks after the most vulnerable people in it's community. By accepting Clubs Australia's premise, we are accepting that it is okay to exploit a persons vulnerability.

Lau Guerreiro said...

I totally agree with Andrew Wilkie's stance on poker machine reform.

This blog post called "Stuff problem gamblers - I want cheap beer!"
is a mock letter from a poker machine supporter to Andrew Wilkie which highlights, in the clearest way possible, just how morally bankrupt the opposing position is.

Thomas said...

Paul, I see you've been visited by the same industry shills as I have. They never learn.

Anonymous: if players in Norway can CHOOSE a lower limit than the government-mandated limit... then how on earth can you call it mandatory?

* shakes head *