NSW clubs with gaming and poker machines will be banned from making political donations under new proposed laws by the NSW government.

This proposed amendment would classify any NSW club that deals with betting or gambling a ‘prohibited donor’, which is a classification already imposed on businesses in the tobacco and gambling industry, in addition to property developers.

NSW premier Chris Minns – who campaigned for the amendment earlier this year in his state election campaign – said the amendment is a necessary step to bar the influence of gambling on politics.

“Our bill closes a political loophole,” Mr Minns said.

“It is common sense that, if other gambling entities are banned from making political donations, it should apply to all clubs.”

NSW Labor previously committed to not taking any more donations from clubs with gambling machines from January 16, in the lead-up to the state election. The Act amendment would enforce this binding restrictions to all parties, which Mr Minns has labelled as “an important integrity measure.”

The correlation between gambling-related enterprises and political donations has been the subject of investigation for several years. In 2021, an ABC investigation estimated that almost 82 million  political donation dollars between 1998 and 2020 were linked to entities with a stake in gambling.

ClubsNSW represents over 1000 clubs in the state. Its net profit from electronic gaming  (poker) machines in 2022 was almost $3.5 billion.

Net Profit of Clubs Gambling Machines by UOWTV (Source: Liquor and Gaming NSW)

Net profit from gaming machines in clubs in NSW by UOWTV (Source: Liquor and Gaming NSW)


According to Parliament of Australia data, ClubsNSW donated over 2.5 million dollars to Australian political parties between 2000 and 2015.

Total donations from Club NSW to ALP and coalition parties by UOWTV (Source: Parliament of Australia)


In 2021, Monash University associate professor and gambling researcher Charles Livingstone said ClubsNSW had been a major political donator.

In 2022, there were 86,640 poker machines across NSW. This equates to an average of 82 people per machine, while the global average is 2150 people per gaming machine.

Proposed reforms to gaming machines were at the centre of the recent state election. Former Premier Dominic Perrottet previously pushed for cashless gaming and additionally advocated for Electoral Funding reforms.

In addition to today’s discussions on amending the Electoral Funding Act, the recently elected Labor government has said they will work to reduce the number of poker machines in NSW and ban promotional signage for gaming rooms.

Infographic by UOWTV



Credit: Erin Morley & Jane Drew

Image source: AFR