Former NSW minister ignored advice to release gambling harm report

A landmark report on gambling addiction which recommended banning a controversial poker machine feature was sat on by the New South Wales government for almost two years, despite one department urging for it to be released “as soon as possible”.

On Wednesday Fairfax Media reported that the former NSW deputy premier and gaming minister Troy Grant ignored advice to release the report, which recommended banning “losses disguised as wins” in poker machines.

The losses disguised as wins feature refers to the use of flashing lights and celebratory music, even when players make a net loss on a machine. For example, when a player bets $1 and “wins” 75c. Experts say it helps aggravate gambling addiction, and it is the subject of an ongoing federal court battle involving James Packer’s Crown casino company.

The case alleges that pokies are deliberately designed to deceive people about their prospects of winning. It was filed by Maurice Blackburn lawyers on behalf of former poker machine addict Shonica Guy, against casino giant Crown Melbourne and pokies manufacturer Aristocrat Technologies.

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