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Australia Today

400 Woolworths-Owned Pubs Are Spying on Problem Gamblers

Pub staff share personal information about pokie users on Google Drive and use it to manipulate them.

by Katherine Gillespie
27 February 2018, 11:34pm

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A Google Drive shared between staff at 400 Australian pubs owned by Woolworths contains highly personal information about regular pokie machine users, Fairfax reports. Woolworths is seeking to increase its gambling revenue by helping pub staff identify regular gamblers and take notes on their habits. Staff are encouraged to report on the activities of certain patrons and ply them with rewards like free food and drinks. When revenue targets are met, staff are awarded gift vouchers.

Excerpts from the Google Drive reveal some of the notes taken by pub staff and shared with management. “Started slow, picked up after 9, coffees, drink shouts and toasties trying to keep them in, a lot of promo tickets going out,” one observation reads.

Staff are provided with a “GAMING DAILY BRIEFING SHEET”, and the instructions at the top outline clear objectives to be met, like this:

“WE HAVE A MASSIVE WEEKLY TARGET - 1.36 TO BEAT. WE NEED TO BEAT, WE NEED TO BE OUT ON THE FLOOR REALLY PUSHING DRINKS - IT’S TAX TIME SO PEOPLE WILL HAVE MORE MONEY TO SPEND. DO HAND OUT DRINK CARDS, BE OUT THERE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO TO KEEP PEOPLE IN THE ROOM.”

Woolworths is a majority shareholder in ALH Group, which operates hundreds of pubs and liquor stores around Australia. It earns millions in annual revenue from around 12,000 pokies machines nationwide.

Whistleblowers revealed the Google Drive to anti-pokie Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie, who shared the documents with Fairfax and is expected to bring up the issue in parliament today.

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GAMBLING
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andrew wilkie