Did NSW Government Cover Up Negative Gambling Report?
Government officials in New South Wales (NSW) are being criticized for allegedly failing to release a university study that casts the impact of poker machines and gambling in a negative light. It’s the latest salvo in the battle over gambling Down Under and it could have a big impact on both land-based and internet operators.
At issue is a study by University of Sydney gambling researcher Professor Alex Blaszczynski. Blaszczynski’s report, which was commissioned by the NSW Government in 2013 and completed in December of 2015 is highly critical of poker machines and the features they use to keep players engaged.
In particular, Blaszczynski blasts the common practice of losses disguised as wins. Losses disguised as wins are what happens when the machine lights up and delivers all the stimuli associated with a win, but does so when the player’s win is less than their original bet. This practice is one of the points Blaszczynski uses in his recommendation that the feature be banned from poker machines entirely.
An investigation by the Syndey Morning Herald revealed that various government officials were aware of the report and its contents, but failed to release it the public. This all occurred while Blaszczynski desperately lobbied to have his report released.
While the Morning Herald failed to reveal a smoking gun and a distinct cover up, it did reveal some serious foot dragging by the officials responsible for releasing the report.
Now that the report’s been released, government officials in NSW say that they are mulling over its findings and recommendations. As of this writing, there’s no indication as to when, or if, that will translate into a ban on losses disguised as wins.