Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
The Victorian branch of the Returned and Services League (RSL) is facing claims of a conflict of interest as the debate over pokies games in clubs rages on.
The Age revealed this week that the organisation and several of its sub-branches own shares in Tabcorp – the state’s largest supplier of gaming machines.
The shares were purchased when Tattersalls, which merged with Tabcorp two years ago, floated them on the Australian stock exchange in 2005.
Responding to media inquiries, the RSL said it was planning to offload those assets and would recommend that any clubs with a stake in the gambling giant do the same.
SEE ALSO: COUNCIL SET TO REJECT GEELONG RSL BID FOR MORE POKIES
While the exact number of sub-branches with Tabcorp ties is unknown, RSL president Dr Robert Webster estimates that as many as 30 clubs took up the maximum offer of 5,000 priority shares.
All told, that equates to a $500,000 stake at the time of purchase.
It is also understood that Dr Webster personally held shares in Tabcorp as recently as March this year.
Raging Bull Casino
350% deposit bonus + 50 free spins
The news comes on the back of a campaign from younger members who wish to see gaming machines booted out of Victorian RSL clubs.
Lucas Moon, who served in East Timor, believes the situation has severely compromised the integrity of officials who have laid down the league’s gaming policy since 2005.
“We should not have been a shareholder when we were making such important decisions,” he said.
“The RSL is 100-year-old charity with a brand name built on trust and integrity.
“In its relationship with the gambling industry the RSL leadership has failed the … test.”
Moon said the Tabcorp shares represented a “conflict of interest”, but the RSL has denied those accusations.
“The number and value of the shares held by the RSL Victoria network are immaterial to the total asset base and the income derived from the dividends,” an RSL spokesperson said.
“The shares are also immaterial to the total income of the Victorian RSL Branch.
“The same is true at the sub-branch level.”
The RSL has 2,800 licensed gaming machines across Victoria, making it the state’s second-largest pokies operator after the Woolworths-owned ALH Group.
More Australian gambling news
Star Entertainment secures $800m funding injection
Star Entertainment has received a cash injection of $800 million in equity amidst a net loss of $1.26 billion for the first half of the...
ILGA chair to head NSW Independent Casino Commission
The government of New South Wales has appointed Philip Crawford, the chairman of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (IGLA), as head of the newly...
Star Casino hits snag over ‘disturbing’ tower design
The Star's plans for a new hotel and residential tower are in tatters after a scathing architectural review of the design.
Woolworths walking away from pokies with ALH-Endeavour merger
Woolworths has decided to step away from the gambling industry by giving up its majority stake in Australia's largest pokies operator, ALH Group.
Woolworths in strife over free drinks at pokies venues
Woolworths' gaming business is facing severe regulatory penalties for a series of illegal incentive schemes designed to keep gamblers at venues longer.
Latest online casino promotions
Get up to $100 bonus cash on Gentlemen’s Night at SlotsMillion
Wednesday is all about the boys at SlotsMillion Online Casino, where male punters can score a 40% bonus match up to $100 on every qualifying...
Pocket up to $100 with the Mucho Vegas Midweek Reload Bonus
Hump Day is here, and that means a 50% deposit match up to $100 with Mucho Vegas Casino's Midweek Reload Bonus. Find out more at...
Score up to 100 free spins every Wednesday at Kahuna Casino
Celebrate Hump Day in style with up to 100 free spins on Boomanji, Fruit Zen and other popular online pokies games at Kahuna Casino every...
Get up to $70 bonus cash every Tuesday at Casino-Mate
If you add $20 or more to your betting account at Casino-Mate.com this Tuesday, you can unlock a Perfect Match deposit bonus of 35 per...
Weekly bonus refunds with Emu Casino’s June Cashback Streak
Emu Casino is giving punters the chance to claim big cashback bonuses every week of June. Find out how you can get in on the...