Politicians who sit on gambling boards

July 4, 2023

This list tracks elected politicians who simultaneously sat on the boards of pokies entities, particularly in NSW, plus former politicians who later joined gambling boards.

Khal Asfour: the long time Labor mayor of Canterbury Bankstown recently withdrew from Labor's 2023 NSW upper house ticket citing smears. Also featured on A Current Affair in 2018 over drinking indulgences.

Stephen Conroy: the long time Senator and Communications Minister during the Rudd and Gillard years did very little to mitigate gambling harm when in office and then become founding CEO of the Responsible Wagering Association on leaving office, a lobby group for foreign bookmakers like Sportsbet, Ladbrokes and Bet365.

Helen Coonan: one of John Howard's Communications Ministers spent 10 years on the Crown Resorts board culminating in a stint as executive chairman until August 2021.

Ali Cupper: was on the board of The Workers Club, a big pokies outfit, in Mildura whilst serving as a Mildura Councillor but later became a state independent who publicly supported calls for pokies reform.

Keith de Lacy: from Treasurer of Queensland in the Goss government to a professional director who chaired Macarthur Coal and Reef Casino Trust, owner of the Cairns casino. He also chaired Cubbie Group, Nimrod Resources, Queensland Energy Resources, Queensland Sugar and Trinity Ltd but has now retired from all public company boards.

John Ducker: the late Labor senator and NSW right wing powerbroker was chairman of pokies giant Aristocrat until he was sacked with a monstrous payout in 2004 shortly after the shares tanked to a record low of around $1. They are now above $30.

Cr Les Sheather: a Hawkesbury city councillor since 1986 and was re-elected as an independent in December 2021. He simultaneously serves as a director of the Windsor RSL, a pokies club that has built up net assets of $15.6 million from its gambling operations and pocketed $10.1 million in “net clearances” from its pokies division in the 2020-21 financial year. Cr Sheather spoke against a gambling reform at the 2023 Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly as was detailed in this Crikey report at the time.