24 October 2012
The NSW Council of Churches has questioned apparent claims by the state tourism lobby and others that a second casino is in Sydney’s best interests.
There were good reasons for Sydney’s one-casino policy and nothing had changed which necessitated a rethink, Council President Revd Dr Ross Clifford said.
“No one is against appropriate development of the Barangaroo site, but this city does not need a second casino. We also need to consider the message we are sending to the region. It could be seen as offensive to build a second casino in Sydney with the intention of fleecing wealthy Asian people,” Dr Clifford said.
“A second Sydney casino will put pressure on Star Casino and clubs and hotels to intensify the competitive market in gambling when we are trying to ease it. If the NSW government insists on an escalation of gambling, then at the very least any agreement must include a permanent enforceable ban on electronic gaming machines to avoid mission creep, and provision for qualified gambling counselors and chaplains,” Dr Clifford said.
According to the Productivity Commission’s report on gambling released in 2010, NSW had 97,065 (or 48 per cent) of the nation’s electronic gaming machines and shouldered $4.7 billion (or 45 per cent) of the nation’s poker machine expenditure.
Media contact Rod Benson 0412 421 678