Costello Takes On Poker Machine Industry
22 October 2015 at 9:33 am
One of Australia’s highest profile Not for Profit leaders and World Vision CEO, Tim Costello, has formed a new advocacy group to fight what he says is the shocking extent of the poker machine industry’s manipulation of Australian communities.
Costello said that off the back of the explosive ABC documentary, Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation, he was left shocked, revolted, and angry, and he is now planning to tackle the industry head on, including a court challenge.
He said the Alliance hoped to blow the lid off the gambling industry by exposing how poker machines were rigged to keep people playing and fueling addiction, to shame companies profiting from pokies addiction, and if necessary take on the poker machine industry in the courts.
“For 20 years I've witnessed the damage caused by poker machines to our families and communities. But even I didn't understand the extent of industry manipulation – until now,” Costello said.
“Ka-Ching! went inside poker machines to show how they're rigged to addict and are impossible to win, over time. One industry whistleblower explained how machines can be set to either ‘shear or slaughter the sheep’ – and most Australian pokies are set to ‘slaughter’.
“It makes you wonder how our governments allow these machines to be out there. I'll tell you how: the absolute capture of both major parties by the pokies industry.
“That's why I've joined with more than 40 local governments, churches and community groups to form the Alliance for Gambling Reform.”
All major stations and newspapers at the launch for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, proud to be a part of it pic.twitter.com/hX0FWxr4Ar
— GetUp! (@GetUp) October 22, 2015
Costello said he would be walking into the offices of the people who make, control and regulate poker machines.
“From Woolworths, the largest poker machine owner in the country, to government ministers, many of whom sit cosily in the pockets of the gambling industry,” he said.
“The difference between walking into those meetings alone, and walking in backed by the power of tens of thousands of Australians, cannot be overstated.”
Costello said he hoped the newly formed Alliance would work closely with online advocacy group GetUp to expose the truth about poker machines.
Law firm Maurice Blackburn is working pro bono with the Alliance on preparing a legal case against poker machines.
“Then, when we've demonstrated the deliberate, misleading conduct of the pokies industry, we'll take the fight to Parliament House, to the doorsteps of our MPs and Senators,” Costello said.
“But to do all of these things, we need tens of thousands of Australians standing with us.”
He has urged the public to join his fight against the poker machine industry.