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More misconduct allegations at Woolworths pokies venues

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27 March 2018


The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, is revealing further allegations by whistleblowers about the tactics Woolworths uses to maximise poker machine revenue.

WHEN: 11:00am TODAY 27 March WHERE: Mural Hall, Parliament House CANBERRA

“Last month I revealed that Woolworths keeps a secret database of customers in their poker machine venues and spies on patrons without their knowledge,” Mr Wilkie said.

“Now, thanks to two more whistleblowers, we can see that this is just the tip of a very large iceberg. Not only do they reveal that the secret database is widespread, but they speak in great detail about the lengths to which venue staff are forced to go in order to keep people gambling.

“For example these latest whistleblowers talk of one gambler who would lose thousands of dollars every night. The venues would roll out the red carpet - they would reserve a machine for her, give her free food and drinks; anything to encourage her to lose more money.

“The whistleblowers also reveal how alcohol would be misused in order to encourage people to stay longer and gamble more.

“I am pleased that, in response to the allegations I aired last month, Woolworths have committed to at least two external investigations. Chairman Gordon Cairns has been especially engaged in the issue and taken the time to speak with me repeatedly. But these latest allegations must also be thoroughly investigated because Woolworths stands accused of very serious misconduct, and the pressure is on them to get to the bottom of it all.”

The Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, which is majority owned by Woolworths, has about 12,000 poker machines across about 400 venues, including five in Tasmania. They are

the largest poker machine operator in Australia, accounting for about 6% of all poker machines in the country.

A recording of an interview with the whistleblowers can be found at

For more information: Tim Hurd 0447 427 292

Authorised by Andrew Wilkie MP 188 Collins St Hobart