New board member appointed to ILGA

By Charlotte Lee Updated
NSW community pokies grants under investigation

New South Wales casino regulator, the ILGA, has appointed a new board member.

Yogonet reports that the NSW government has announced the appointment of Gillian Eldershaw as a new member of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority Board, the entity that makes decisions on higher risk licensing proposals and disciplinary matters involving casinos, hotels, clubs and bottle shops.

Eldershaw was welcomed to the ILGA by chairperson Philip Crawford, in replacement of Nicole McWilliam, whose term has been completed.

She brings the Board’s membership back to eight, as it is currently composed of Crawford, deputy chair Murray Smith, and members Craig Sahlin, Stephen Parbery, Sarah Dinning, Samanthan Zouroudis and Paul Gentle.

The  newly appointed board member is a Barrister admitted to practice in New South Wales and in the High Court of Australia.

She completed a Bachelor of Laws in 2004 and earned a Bachelor of Nursing in 1995.

Of the appointment, Crawford said: “Ms Eldershaw has been appointed for a three-year term and brings a wide array of skills and experience, which will be a great asset to ILGA”.

“ILGA is committed to fair and transparent decision making and dealing with matters in a timely and efficient manner.

“People appointed to the ILGA board must be of the highest integrity and promote fair, transparent and efficient decision making.

“Ms Eldershaw clearly meets all these requirements,” he said.

Pokies relocation plan draws criticism

A plan to relocate 1000 poker machines to Sydney’s Star Casino has been lashed by the powerful lobby group representing New South Wales clubs.

ClubsNSW has warned of the grave impacts on regional venues should the proposal go ahead.

ClubsNSW chief executive Josh Landis described the potential deal, which is set to be considered by cabinet, as “crazy”.

“The casino wants to grow by feeding on the misfortune of regional clubs and pubs, by buying an astonishing 1000 extra poker machines from them at distressed rates because they have been trading so badly in recent years,” Mr Landis said.

“This will have a devastating effect on Sydney clubs, impacting the social lives of millions of people and causing the loss of as many as 2200 club jobs.”

As part of the potential deal with the state government, the Star could in turn develop a new theatre and live performance venue in Sydney.

A spokesman for Star said any request for additional slot machines for the casino was a matter for the NSW government, adding that the casino currently possessed 1.6 per cent of poker machines in NSW.

“In the right environment, we would have aspirations to develop a new theatre and live venue environment in Sydney,” the spokesman said.

When asked about the cabinet proposal, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “don’t always believe what you read”.

The deal would result in the Star purchasing slot machine licences from struggling clubs across NSW.

ClubsNSW predicted the additional 1000 poker machines could increase the Star’s revenue by up to $230 million per year.

More than $2.2 billion was lost to poker machines in NSW pubs and clubs in the first four months of 2021, with almost $600 million collected in April alone, up 12.58 per cent on April 2019.

The 100 lowest-ranked NSW clubs for recent poker machine profits operate fewer than 8 machines on average and are mostly golf and bowling clubs in regional areas.

Walcha (Northern Tablelands) and Blayney (Central West) have both halved the number of poker machines in their five clubs from 26 in total to 13 over the past two years.

Back to top