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'Clear breach' - watchdogs to probe Woolworths' pokies pubs

Author: Nick O'Malley & Nick Toscano, The Sydney Morning Herald, Published on: 18 March 2018

28 February 2018

Supermarket giant Woolworths' network of pokies-owning pubs faces state and federal investigations in the wake of claims its staff secretly compiled personal details about gamblers to keep them in venues longer.

…Woolworths is using staff to gather personal information from high turnover gamblers to encourage "increased gambling" in pubs it owns.

The allegations centre on venues run by the Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) Group, a Woolworths majority-owned joint venture with billionaire businessman Bruce Mathieson, which runs more than 12,000 poker machines nationally.

After investigating the allegations, the NSW gambling regulator said, it would consider "appropriate compliance and enforcement actions".

As the allegations may involve potential breaches of gamblers' privacy, they have also prompted inquiries from the national information and privacy commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim.

"My office is making inquiries to determine whether personal information of individuals is being managed in accordance with the Privacy Act," he said.

Anna Bardsley, a former pokies addict…said…"They were plying me with alcohol and trying to keep me there until 3am because it was good for the Woolworths bottom line, even though I was suffering enormous harm."

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Related companies: ALH Woolworths Group Australia