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Pollies roll over like dice for Packer?

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For more information contact Sally Ward on 0433 620 850 or Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677



Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has called on billionaire gambling mogul James Packer to reconcile to the Federal politicians he’s meeting in Canberra today his plans for a new Sydney casino with new research showing 1 in 8 gamblers in NSW is at risk of problem gambling.

Mr Packer is in Canberra today as part of a tourism forum to spruik his plans for the proposed Barangaroo casino in Sydney.

A survey conducted by the NSW Government - released yesterday - found that NSW has the highest level of moderate and severe problem gambling of six jurisdictions (two in Canada, New Mexico, the UK, Sweden and New Zealand).

“James Packer needs to reconcile his latest casino plan with NSW having the world’s worst practice when it comes to people developing a gambling problem,” Nick said.

The research also reveals the 73 per cent of problem gamblers nominate poker machines as the cause of their gambling problem.

Senator Xenophon said Mr Packer’s admission that the Barangaroo proposal was ‘in virgin territory’ because it didn’t have poker machines was also revealing.

“If I were a betting man, it’s odds on there will be pokies in Barangaroo sooner rather than later. That’s what happened in the Adelaide casino many years ago,” Nick said.

Senator Xenophon was also dismissive of Mr Packer’s claims of jobs being created and his plans to restrict Barangaroo to high rollers from the Asia-Pacific region.

“We know from independent research that gambling is a net job killer compared to money spent on retail and hospitality,” Nick said.

“And as for Mr Packer saying his casino is about overseas high rollers, how will he stop locals losing their shirts, unless of course he seeks to have Barangaroo excised from the Australian mainland.”

Last year Senator Xenophon sent a copy of Professor Linda Hancock’s book ‘Regulatory Failure: The Case of Crown Casino’ to Mr Packer. The book detailed a damning survey of over 200 Crown casino employees and systemic failures in dealing with problem gambling.

“I hope Mr Packer has read it by now,” Nick said.