It has been a hectic few days for ClubsNSW. First, the company announced a new code of practice for pubs and clubs across the region. These changes are being touted as a way to combat problem gambling.
However, the now-former CEO of the company made disparaging remarks against NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet. This resulted in his removal from the company.
ClubsNSW Announces Code of Practice for Pubs and Clubs
Earlier this week, ClubsNSW announced a revised code of practice for pubs and clubs across the region. The policies will apply to all venues and are intended to address problem gambling. Below are some of the changes that are being implemented by the new code:
- Welfare checks on pokies players must be conducted every three hours.
- Procedures to ban criminals from pubs and clubs
- Procedures to ban problem gamblers
- Staff must be trained to spot problem gambling
- All venues much hire a responsible gambling officer
The policy changes by the ClubsNSW are being done ahead of expected reforms to gambling laws and regulations. Once elections have passed, new regulations are virtually a guarantee. ClubsNSW appears to be looking to soften the scope of these regulations. The new code will go into effect on July 1, 2023, at all venues in NSW.
Josh Landis, the former CEO of the organisation, spoke on the new code, stating, “We strongly believe that the best solutions come from front-line workers rather than bureaucrats or activists. This Code represents the best ideas from industry experts for addressing problem gambling and eliminating the proceeds of crime from clubs while protecting jobs and community contributions.”
He further stated that the code will help to sold money laundering problems, saying, “While the NSW Crime Commission found that money laundering via poker machines is high-risk, inefficient and not a widespread practice in clubs, this Code further demonstrates our industry’s dedication to keeping criminals and their ill-gotten gains out of our venues.”
Landis’ comments about the new code sounded reasonable for his organisation. However, additional comments about Premier Dominic Perrottet led to his removal as CEO.
Landis Attacks Premier’s Religion and Loses Job
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has championed cashless gambling in the region. While many believe this is one of the best ways to combat problem gambling, ClubsNSW has long been heading the opposition. However, the now-former CEO took things a bit too far in his criticism of the Premier. Early Tuesday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on comments made by Landis.
Landis made comments that claimed that the Premier could not comprehend the matter due to what he called Perrottet’s “Catholic gut.”
Landis stated, “He’s going to struggle because he can’t satisfy everybody. I think it is fair to say that the premier has very little understanding of this issue and has acted from his conservative Catholic gut rather than based on evidence.
“What he’s done is create hyper-anxiety among the industry and among people who go to clubs, and hyper-excitement among those who want reform. That perhaps explains to some extent why he’s having trouble with his parliamentary colleagues.”
Later that same day, the Premier spoke out on the comments, stating that they were “incredibly inappropriate and offensive to people of faith” and that the comments were “an attack on every single person of faith in the state.”
Landis would later apologise to the Premier personally and then publically, but by then, it was too late. A spokesperson for ClubsNSW issued a statement saying, “ClubsNSW has met today to discuss the comments made by chief executive Josh Landis yesterday. After careful consideration, the Board has made the decision to end Mr Landis’ employment with ClubsNSW with immediate effect”
While debates over matters of policy often get heated, there is a line that still must be met. Landis failed in his obligation to shareholders and the public and paid the price for his actions.