|An image of the Pope welcomes visitors to the Campbelltown Catholic Club and its many poker machines.|
The cashless gaming card promoted by the premier of NSW, Dominic Perrottet, has been met with approval by Anthony Fisher, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney.
The Archbishop was cited in The Catholic Weekly of 8 February 2023 saying that for some “gambling is an addiction that not only causes financial loss but contributes to family breakdown, homelessness and despair”.
He forgot to mention suicide; he also forgot to mention that the Catholic Church in NSW has clubs that have hundreds of poker machines.
A 2018 investigation by Michael West Media pointed out that Dooleys Catholic Club in Lidcombe “racked up more than half a billion dollars from gamblers over a decade but only returned a small fraction of these profits to the community”.
In a 13 March 2023 opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Petersham Bowling Club president George Catsi argued that 20 per cent of NSW clubs, like his, and 44 per cent of NSW pubs, do not have poker machines.
Catsi goes to the heart of the poker machines question when he says:
“…so you want us to take advantage of one part of the community [pokie players] so we can subsidise food and drink for the rest of the community?”
Catsi characterises this casuistry as:
“…moral corruption. It preys on the vulnerable.”
The Secular Association of NSW asks: why do Catholic Clubs have poker machines at all? Why do they not set an example by removing them? Why do they value money more than they value the wellbeing of all citizens using their clubs?