The lobby group that represents local clubs is set to withdraw its legal bid aimed at forcing the gambling regulator of New South Wales (NSW) to provide it with information retrieved from a whistleblower who raised some concerns regarding possible money laundering violations carried out through so-called pokies.
Earlier in 2021, the organisation called ClubsNSW issued a subpoena to the gambling watchdog, Liquor and Gaming NSW, as part of its efforts to get more details the regulatory body had received from the whistleblower Troy Stolz, a former anti-money laundering compliance auditor.
As the subpoena said, ClubsNSW had a belief that Mr Stolz may have shared some confidential information to the New South Wales’ gambling regulatory body, breaching his post-employment restraints. However, last week, the legal representatives of the organisation explained that they intend to back away from the legal action, which was listed in the Federal Court for April 28th, 2021.
ClubsNSW, the trade body representing the state’s pubs and clubs offering poker machines, explained that it decided to withdraw from its legal action in regard to the revelations made by Mr Stolz after some Members of Parliament, including the independent MP Justin Field and the Finance Minister Damien Tudehope, spoke in Parliament about how controversial pokes are being used in clubs in the NSW for money laundering.
Whistleblowers Consider the Lobby Group’s Decision a Victory for Themselves
The whistleblower, Mr Stolz, commented on the lobby group’s decision, saying it was a great victory for whistleblowers. According to him, this would have been a precedent to find out whether such activists are given protection after providing information that is in the public interest to a gambling regulatory body.
ClubsNSW has also taken Mr Stolz to court after he provided Andrew Wilkie, an independent federal Member of Parliament, with a confidential paper of the organisation’s board. The paper, originating from May 2019, outlined the concerns that ClubsNSW had shared about poor levels of compliance with anti-money laundering rules and regulations within its 770 member clubs.
Money laundering has been pointed out as one of the major issues associated with the gambling sector, especially after Commissioner Patricia Bergin completed her investigation into the operations of the Australian gambling giant Crown Resorts and found evidence that money laundering has taken place in the company’s casinos in Melbourne and Perth. In her report, Commissioner Bergin confirmed that Crown Resorts had facilitated money laundering through its bank accounts.
Philip Crawford, the chair of the NSW gambling regulatory body, has also warned that state’s pubs and clubs that offered poker machine gambling were actually taking part in money laundering. Victor Dominello, the Customer Services Minister of the state, has also been insisting on the implementation of cashless options for so-called pokies, with gaming cards set to be used by clubs and pubs’ patrons as part of the efforts to tackle problem gambling and eliminate money laundering.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.