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Woolworths accused of "profiling" pokie gamblers

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Staff at Woolworths-owned pubs are being accused of profiling poker machine users to encourage them to stay longer and gamble more.

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Federal MP and anti-pokies campaigner Andrew Wilkie says he’s obtained screenshots of data being kept on gamblers, which is being shared on a Google drive file among the supermarket giant’s 400 pubs.

“This isn’t just basic information,” Wilkie told parliament on Wednesday.

“We’re talking things like jobs, times people come in, favourite drinks, favourite football teams, whether they have a partner and what their preferred bet level is.”

He claimed staff were rewarded with gift vouchers for meeting betting targets and certain players were being induced to stay with drink cards and other promotions.

“This practice undoubtedly increases revenue but it’s also immoral, possibly illegal, and directly fosters increased gaming addiction,” the Tasmanian independent MP said.

“Today’s revelations demonstrate just how low the poker industry stoops to create addicts. This is disgraceful behaviour and it should be called out.”

Greens MP Adam Bandt said pokies were a scourge on Australia.

“And now it seems that staff are being directed to make more money out of people including potential problem gamblers,” he told reporters.

“These big companies that are making millions out of people and their problem gambling have a lot to answer for.”

– AAP

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