NSW border towns highly saturated with pokies as reform looms

Helen Dalton has copped backlash for her support of cashless gaming cards.
MP Helen Dalton says something must be done about the proliferation of pokies along the Murray River’s border towns.

Gambling advocates are calling for reforms in the pokies industry, especially due to the proliferation of gaming machines in the border towns of New South Wales.

A news report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation highlighted how dense with poker machines borders towns like Moama, Federation Shire, Albury, and others are.

According to data retrieved from the NSW Office of Liquor and Gaming, Moama has 998 machines for a population of 13,000, with Federation Shire having one machine for every 17 persons and Albury, one for every 53.

The proliferation of gaming machines, in turn, makes accessing them too easy for gambling addicts struggling to get rid of their addiction.

The news report turned the spotlight on Deborah, a resident of Albury, who lost so much to the pokies and continues to fight the urge every day.

Meanwhile, the new reforms proposed by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet seem to indicate a new era of change. However, this does not go down well with ClubsNSW, the body representing the interests of pubs and clubs in NSW.

MP Helen Dalton is the independent representing the Murray River Local Government Area, where many of these towns are located. She strongly supported the premier’s move to introduce cashless gaming in the state.

However, ClubsNSW has launched a campaign against her, saying she refused to talk to them or hear them and accused her of attacking local clubs and pubs.

On the other hand, anti-gambling advocates see the stance of Clubs NSW as being self-serving.

“Over decades, a whole industry developed; clubs got richer, became more elaborate, and became better at luring punters to come and stay,” Reverend Stu Cameron from Wesley Mission said.

“The fact that there was such a significant advantage given to New South Wales towns and regions in establishing this industry is still playing out today.”

Meanwhile, Reverend Cameron and others are looking forwards to the implementation of the reforms. ClubsNSW also commented that they are willing to work with whatever government gets in after the elections.