Clubs appeal for community help

THE 39 not-for-profit clubs across Ballina, Lismore, Grafton and Casino have appealed to the community to show their support for their clubs, and attend the Save our Clubs rally next week.

Clubs NSW says clubs across the Page electorate would be forced to spend more than $22 million to install the mandatory pre-commitment scheme being proposed by the Federal Government and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

Ballina RSL General Manager Bill Coulter said that the cost of implementing the licence to punt scheme would devastate local clubs.

“If this scheme goes ahead, it would result in around 235 job losses in Page alone,” he said.

“Clubs would also have to slash the amount we put into junior sports, local charities, facilities for members and other community funding.

“Our club alone will be looking at an installation bill of more than $3 million – a not-for-profit club simply can’t afford that.

“That’s why on Wednesday August 10, we’re asking everyone who cares about the role of clubs in our community to come to Ballina RSL and make their voices heard.

“Our local Member, Janelle Saffin, needs to know the impact a ‘licence to punt’ would have on our local clubs, sports teams, suppliers and staff.”

Casino RSM Club CEO Phil Mallon said the rally was a chance to be heard and save our local clubs. 

“This scheme is going to hurt clubs, it will hurt junior sport and it will hurt the wider community – while not doing a thing to help problem gamblers,” he said.

“Leading problem gambling counsellors and researchers have already told the Government that this untested scheme will actually delay problem gamblers from getting help while punishing the social punters who enjoy the occasional flutter on the pokies.

“Clubs like ours have supported and helped the community for decades, and now we need the community to help us send a strong message to Canberra that this is political madness.”

The Save our Clubs rally will be held at 2.30pm on Wednesday 10 August at Ballina RSL, 240 River Street, Ballina. For more information go to

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