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Australian Clubs Drop Support for Gambling

22 July 2002

AUSTRALIA -- As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald: "Clubs NSW has withdrawn support from a proposed group of super clubs, accusing them of jeopardising its efforts to persuade the Carr Government to reconsider changes to gambling laws.

"The proposed group of about 30 large clubs, known as the Waratah Foundation, is to be set up next month with a starting budget of between $1 million and $2 million.

"One of its first plans was to commission research into the impact of the daily three-hour pokie shutdown, to convince the Government to withdraw its extension to six hours next May.

"But the chief executive of Clubs NSW, Mark Fitzgibbon, has written to the large clubs saying he was `extremely disturbed' the group was apparently positioning itself as a political force.

"…Mr Fitzgibbon wrote he would not support the new group any further and called on the clubs to clarify their position.

"…But one of the backers of the Waratah Foundation, Tony Toohey, general manager of Wentworthville Leagues Club, said the group wanted to work with Clubs NSW and advise it on the interests of large clubs for policy development.

"Gambling reform would not be its only focus, but it would also promote ways for clubs to diversify their business, and be involved in charitable activities, he said…"

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