Tom Cummings is a gambling reform advocate who is running a crowdfunder that Croakey readers may wish to support – Expose NSW’s gambling problem.
Whether you live in NSW or not, Cummings makes a case below for supporting his project.
Please do! We’d love to see the results of this work.
Crowdfunding access to gambling data
Tom Cummings writes:
NSW has almost 100,000 poker machines, and loses $8 billion a year, EVERY year, to the machines. We know that many poker machine gamblers have an addiction or are at high risk of developing an addiction to pokies.
Yet the NSW government is the only government in the country that refuses to freely release data about its poker machine industry, data which could highlight in real time where the damage is being done, how much is being lost and where, and how willing the industry is to exploit those in need.
The only way to get this data is to buy it, and it doesn’t come cheap. So I’ve started a GoFundMe to purchase the reports, and I’m asking for your help.
Why should you support me in this? Here are seven reasons why.
- It’s all about NSW. The sad truth is that poker machines spread across the country from NSW; they’re entrenched in society, and organisations such as Clubs NSW and AHA NSW (which represent clubs and hotels respectively) have a huge amount of influence nationally. In fact, the national clubs body Clubs Australia is run by the same people who run Clubs NSW. These groups are very good at fighting any kind of reform (the Andrew Wilkie / Julie Gillard agreement, for example) and their actions impact on the rest of the country.
- The poker machine industry in NSW is protected by the government. Without access to this data, this protection will continue indefinitely. They (especially the clubs) will continue to receive generous tax concessions and avoid public scrutiny, and the state will continue to bleed billions of dollars a year into their coffers.
- The NSW government has no motivation to change the current state of affairs. They make billions of dollars in taxes from the industry; they’re addicted to the revenue. They won’t change unless they are made to change.
- The NSW poker machine industry constantly claims that they’d consider reforms if they were evidence-based… but that evidence is nearly impossible to get. Access to this data will provide that evidence.
- I’m a former poker machine addict, and I’ve been analysing gambling data from around the country for years. I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m looking for and I plan to make all the data I purchase, and my analysis of that data, free to the public.
- The time is right. Every other state and territory makes their data freely available and there is a political push for greater transparency in NSW in this area. We can add our voices and our support to this push by getting involved now.
- I’ve saved the biggest and most important reason for last. There are tens of thousands of people in NSW and around Australia who are being harmed every day by poker machine addiction, either directly or indirectly. Family violence, depression, divorce and worse are just some of the tragic consequences. Yet these people are being denied the opportunity to see action taken that would help them. Supporting this campaign will see the state of the industry laid bare and hopefully have an impact on the carnage being wrought in NSW.
So please, take a few minutes to click through and support this campaign. We need to lift the lid on the secrecy around the poker machine industry in NSW, and shine a light on the harm being caused. The industry is being protected, and people are suffering. The time for transparency is now.
• Tom Cummings is a gambling reform advocate who draws upon his own experiences as a former poker machine addict to work towards real and sustainable change. His writing on pokies, sports betting and more can be found here. See also the grab below from his website.