ClubsNSW has lost its moral compass over pokies

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ClubsNSW, the lobby group representing the state’s 1400 clubs, likes to say its aim is to build “stronger communities” – but it’s hard to see the public spirit in the treatment of its former employee Troy Stolz.

As Herald reported Thursday, Stolz is terminally ill with bone cancer but will spend his final months defending a lawsuit brought against him by ClubsNSW.

Stolz’s breach was that in 2020, after eight years as senior anti-money laundering officer, he leaked an internal ClubsNSW report which suggested its members were flouting the law.

The report submitted to HeraldThe ABC and federal MP Andrew Wilkie found that 90 to 95 per cent of clubs did not take the most basic anti-money laundering precautions.

Since then, ClubsNSW has tried to silence him for breaching confidentiality agreements. Stolz has been forced to sell his family home to pay the installation costs.

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While ClubsNSW said on Wednesday that Stolz was not a real whistleblower and was trying to extract money from his former employer, the pursuit of a terminally ill man for his last penny speaks volumes about the ethics of ClubsNSW.

Stolz was not a thief. He was acting in the interests of the very communities that ClubsNSW say they want to strengthen.

The evidence is mounting that the clubs are not doing enough to fight back money laundering. While small local clubs play a valuable role in many communities, people at the top seem unwilling to take any action that threatens the revenue from the $85 billion a year pumped through NSW poker machines.

In November last year, a senior gambling regulator told Herald that he believed about $1 billion is laundered each year through clubs in Australia, much of it through NSW’s 85,000 poker machines. Daily Telegraph this year, details were leaked of a confidential state government report which said investigators suspected organized crime had laundered $5.5 million through 178 Sydney venues in a seven-week period.

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