ClubsNSW decided to part ways with its chief executive officer Josh Landis following his controversial comments about New South Wales (NSW) Premier Dominic Perrottet’s religious beliefs and chief advocate for the Centre for Gambling Reform, Tim Costello, believes it was the right decision.
Decision Was Appropriate
Landis, who was sacked on Tuesday, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the Premier was acting merely on his “conservative Catholic gut” when advocating for the gambling reforms, an issue he has “very little understanding” for.
“I think they’ve made the right decision in sacking Josh,” Costello told Sky News Australia on Wednesday, backing Perrottet’s “unwavering commitment” to reforming the sector and increasing the level of protection for the vulnerable.
Costello claimed that Landis, who was among those who have heavily criticized the Premier over cashless gaming cards in the past two months, has done so while dismissing all evidence that suggested the need for cashless gaming as a problem gambling tool, including two Productivity Commission reports.
Support for Cashless Cards
NSW Crime Commissioner Michael Barnes was among the first to advocate for the cashless gaming card solution, citing evidence from the Report into Money Laundering via EGMs in Pubs and Clubs and urging MPs to introduce cashless transactions for electronic gaming machines.
Later on, cashless gaming cards received the support of NSW Police Commissioner, Karen Webb, who said that tougher measures would be necessary if authorities want to stop dirty money from flowing throughout the state’s pokies machines.
Earlier in January, Unions NSW leader Mark Morey also backed the introduction of cashless gaming cards as a problem gambling tool and urged Labor to support the reform before the state election in March 2023.
Apology Did not Save the Day
Perrottet, who has committed to reforming the gaming industry by introducing cashless poker machines and a ban on political donations from pubs and clubs, reacted to Landis’ comments, calling them “incredibly inappropriate and offensive,” arguing that he was pursuing a harder line out of his belief that it was “the right thing to do,” not his Catholic religion. The Premier also stated that such comments should merit a resignation the next morning.
Landis issued an apology for his words, claiming that he had misspoken while answering the question and should have not made reference to the Premier’s religion. He also added that “this was not a premeditated comment or an intentional attack on the Premier personally” but the apology could not save his position at ClubsNSW.