Troy Grant, a former New South Wales (NSW) deputy minister failed to release gambling harm report regardless of the fact that he was advised in May 2016 to issue it as soon as possible. The gambling harm report is very important for the local gambling industry as it recommends a suspension to be imposed on a certain poker machine feature that was subjected to a legal battle in the Federal Court.
The gambling harm report, however, has not been released. The Government of New South Wales failed to agree on the report, or at least not until October 2017, almost two years after it was delivered. The report was still delayed, even considering the fact that one department urged the Government for the release, calling for the authorities to release it “as soon as possible”.
Controversial Poker Machines Feature
Reportedly, the ex New South Wales deputy premier and gaming minister Troy Grant disregarded the advice to release the report on purpose. As mentioned above, the report was considered a landmark one for the local gambling industry as it recommended a ban to be imposed on a poker machines feature that “disguised” losses as winnings.
The feature which disguises losses as winnings has been bound to the use of flashing lights and music no matter if players win or lose on a machine. According to experts, such a feature could make players spend more on local slot machines, which on the other hand could en up deteriorating player’s gambling addiction. In addition, as mentioned above, the feature was subject to an ongoing legal battle involving James Packer’s Crown Resorts casino brand.
According to the allegations in the Federal Court case, Australian slot machines, also known as pokies, are deliberately designed in a way to deceive players about their chances of winnings. The case was filed by the former pokies addict Shonica Guy against the casino and gambling brand Crown Melbourne and the slot machines developer Aristocrat Technologies. The Federal Court is expected to come up with a verdict in 2018.
Report Provides Information about Gambling-Related Harm
Back in October 2017, the University of Sydney gambling treatment clinic report was finally released by the current Gaming Minister Paul Toole. The report, which was carried out at the cost of AU$263,000 was authorised in 2013 and was officially handed to the New South Wales Government two years later, in December 2015.
A number of recommendations have been made in the report, including a ban to be imposed on the afore-mentioned poker machines feature that disguise losses as winnings, which has been blamed by market experts to be encouraging problem gambling and gambling addiction to spread among local customers. This feature has been considered misleading and deceptive to players only to make them bet over and over again which is why it has been blamed for fuelling gambling addictions.
However, the then-deputy minister of the NSW Government and gaming minister, did not roll out the report despite the fact that in May 2016 he received a briefing note urging him to publish the report as soon as possible, as the research provided new and important information about gambling-related harm.