Travel and hospitalityGifts

Gambling industry sprays hospitality and gifts

Politicians are the big winners from Australia's gambling companies. See our analysis of who's receiving hospitality and gifts from an industry that ignores its anti-money laundering obligations.

By Sean Johnson
13 January 2022


Photo by Benoit Dare on Unsplash

Amid concerns about the failures of the gambling industry to combat money laundering, an analysis of the parliamentary interests registers reveals 42 politicians - 18.5% of the Australian parliament - have received benefits from the industry and related sectors since 2019, including tickets to sports events and musicals, alcohol and food, and honorary club memberships. 

Tabcorp, Australia’s biggest gambling entity, was fined $45 million in 2017 for neglecting to report 108 suspicious transactions to the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing authority, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). But as the table below shows, the company has been quite diligent duchessing our political class, providing 23 lucky MPs and senators with a total of at least 70 free tickets to events like the Melbourne Cup, Derby Day, and the State of Origin. Who says Tabcorp doesn’t pay out. 

The Star Entertainment Group, whose casinos in NSW and Queensland are being reviewed by gaming authorities due to concerns about inadequate money laundering controls, has been generous as well, giving six politicians and their families and friends a total of 19 tickets to events like the State of Origin and musicals Billy Elliott and Hamilton ($250 a ticket). 

Crown Casino, deemed by NSW authorities to be unfit to hold a casino licence in the state over money laundering failures at its Melbourne casino, has provided a couple of tickets to a tennis event. 

Online gambling company Sportsbet was recently fined $3.7 million for spamming 37,000 people with over 150,000 text messages and emails between January 2020 and March 2021. And Sportsbet's response? It starts trying to influence politicians by taking them to the Australian Open, Melbourne Cup, and Oaks Day.

The pubs and clubs lobbies, which have repeatedly blocked efforts at pokies reform, have a simpler approach: free booze and food. The standout is the Queensland Hotels Association's $821 gift to LNP Senator James McGrath - for reasons unknown the QHA loaded McGrath up with four cartons of beer, two cartons of rose, a carton of Verdelho, a carton of Prosecco, and a carton of sparkling wine. Must have been some party. 

Meanwhile ClubsNSW and ClubsACT have been playing Santa, dispensing Christmas hampers to a lucky few. Horse racing clubs have ponied up too, providing a mix of season passes, VIP tickets, and honorary memberships to at least 10 politicians. 


News

List of interests

TabcorpDateInterestPersonDetails
Anthony Albanese28/10/2111. GiftsSelf16 October 2021 - Guest of TABCorp at the TAB Everest Race Day
Andrew Bragg3/12/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfTwo tickets and hospitality as a guest of Tabcorp at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday 2 November.
Terri Butler30/07/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfBox seat tickets (4) and hospitality at the Brisbane Lions game 01/06/2019, Tabcorp
Darren Chester25/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 Tickets to the Birdcage at the Melbourne Cup on November 5, 2019. Tickets provided by Tabcorp
Darren Chester23/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x Tickets to Chairman's Club at Paramount Stakes Day, November 6, 2021 - provided by TabCorp
Darren Chester18/01/2212. Travel or hospitalitySelf3 x Tickets to Boxing Day Test - Ashes Cricket on December 27, 2021. Courtesy of Tabcorp
Anthony Chisholm17/07/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x tickets and hospitality Stradbroke Island Race Day, Eagle Farm Racecourse, 8 June 2019, guest of Tabcorp
Anthony Chisholm7/07/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x tickets and hospitality Game II of the 2021 Ampol State of Origin, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 27 June 2021, guest of Tabcorp
Raff Ciccone10/05/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelf1 x ticket and hospitality to the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival on 6 May 2021 at Warrnambool Racecourse guest of Tabcorp Holdings Ltd
Raff Ciccone28/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x tickets and hospitality to the Paramount+ Stakes Day on 6 November 2021 at the Flemington Racecourse guest of Tabcorp
Damian Drum22/06/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfAttendance at races in Sydney hosted by Tabcorp in 2021
Jason Falinski6/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x tickets to the 2019 Melbourne Cup, including hospitality from TabCorp Ltd
Jason Falinski16/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfTabcorp Box at Randwick race course for Melbourne Cup day 2 November 2021
Don Farrell8/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfHospitality for two courtesy of Tabcorp at Derby Day, Melbourne on 2 November 2019
Don Farrell8/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfHospitality for two courtesy of Tabcorp and Lion at Melbourne Cup, Melbourne on 5 November 2019
Paul Fletcher8/06/2012. Travel or hospitalitySelfAttended Melbourne Cup 2019 with spouse at the invitation of Tabcorp and Network Ten - both are stakeholders in my portfolio
Paul Fletcher8/06/2012. Travel or hospitalitySpouse/partnerAttended Melbourne Cup 2019 with spouse at the invitation of Tabcorp and Network Ten
Sarah Henderson10/10/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfTwo tickets to the Tabcorp hospitality suite for 2019 Derby Day, Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival from Tabcorp Holdings Ltd
Kevin Hogan5/02/2012. Travel or hospitalitySelfTickets from Tabcorp for Derby Day
Greg Hunt27/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfDrop-in entry to Kennedy Pavilion, Tabcorp Pavilion and Newscorp Pavilion at Melbourne Cup 2019 - with spouse.
Greg Hunt27/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySpouse/partnerDrop-in entry to Kennedy Pavilion, Tabcorp Pavilion and Newscorp Pavilion at Melbourne Cup 2019 - with spouse.
Michelle Landry8/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfTicket from Tabcorp for Derby Day in the Birdcage
Michelle Landry8/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfTicket from Tabcorp for Melbourne Cup in the Birdcage
Jenny McAllister6/10/2012. Travel or hospitalitySelfTicket to Epsom Cup and hospitality (October 3) from TabCorp
Michael McCormack25/07/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfTickets to State of Origin Game 1 as guest of Tabcorp on 5th June 2019
Michael McCormack13/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfTickets from Tabcorp to attend the Melbourne Cup on 5 November 2019.
Bridget McKenzie18/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x Tickets Corporate Hospitality and tickets to Melbourne Cup by Tabcorp
Michelle Rowland5/11/2012. Travel or hospitalitySelfTickets and hospitality to the 2019 Golden Eagle for self and guest (not spouse) on 2 November 2019 from Tabcorp
Michelle Rowland19/10/2012. Travel or hospitalitySelfTickets and hospitality from Tabcorp to the 2020 Everest at Randwick Racecourse on Saturday 17 October for self and 1 guest (not spouse).
Michelle Rowland9/11/2012. Travel or hospitalitySelfTickets and hospitality from Tabcorp to attend the 2020 Melbourne Cup carnival at Randwick racecourse on Tuesday 3 November for self and guest (not spouse)
Michelle Rowland5/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfTickets and hospitality from Tabcorp for self and four (4) others (not spouse) for Randwick races, Tuesday 2 November.
Michael Sukkar29/09/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfTabcorp invitation to Australia vs USA at Marvel Stadium
Meryl Swanson19/04/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfEntry and hospitality from Tabcorp at Royal Randwick Racecourse on 10.4.21 for Ms Swanson
Meryl Swanson19/04/2112. Travel or hospitalitySpouse/partnerEntry and hospitality from Tabcorp at Royal Randwick Racecourse on 10.4.21 for Ms Swanson's husband Nicolas Swanson.
Dan Tehan12/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfAttendance for self and guest at Melbourne Cup on 5 November 2019. Provider of the benefit was Tabcorp.
Dan Tehan3/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfAttendance with spouse at Melbourne Cup on 2 November 2021. Provider of the benefit was Tabcorp.
Dan Tehan3/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySpouse/partnerAttendance with spouse at Melbourne Cup on 2 November 2021. Provider of the benefit was Tabcorp.
Tim Wilson26/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x guest tickets for Tabcorp Birdcage Enclosure, Derby Day, 2019 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival
Tim Wilson26/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x guest tickets for Tabcorp Birdcage Enclosure, Stakes Day, 2019 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival
Trent Zimmerman11/04/1911. GiftsSelf2 tickets - State of Origin Sydney Olympic Park - Tabcorp - 10 July 2019

News

List of interests

The Star Entertainment GroupDateInterestPersonDetails
Angie Bell15/07/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfNRL State of Origin tickets & hospitality CBus Stadium. Guests of The Star
Andrew Bragg15/12/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfHospitality for Christmas event and hospitality and tickets to Hamilton provided by The Star Sydney.
Fiona Martin12/04/2111. GiftsSelfTwo tickets to the Australian Premiere of Hamilton at The Sydney Lyric Theatre on 27 March 2021 valued at $250 each from The Star Entertainment Group
Fiona Martin18/01/2211. GiftsSelfThe Star Entertainment Group - Bottle of Champagne and complimentary entree value $325 Date 29th December 2021
Michelle Rowland5/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfHospitality from The Star for self and three (3) others (not spouse) for dinner on Tuesday 2 November.
Michelle Rowland12/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfTicket from The Star to attend Hamilton and hospitality on Saturday 6 November
Michelle Rowland12/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySpouse/partnerTicket from The Star to attend Hamilton and hospitality on Saturday 6 November
Murray Watt26/07/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x tickets to the 2019 Gold Coast Mayoress Charity Foundation Ball, 11th May, 2019. Tickets sponsored by The Star Gold Coast. 2 tickets - $255 each = $510
Trent Zimmerman27/11/1911. GiftsSelfTickets to Billy Elliott, Lyric Theatre, Sydney, November 2019, The Star.
Trent Zimmerman6/05/2111. GiftsSelfTickets to Hamilton - the Musical. Star Entertainment Group.

News

List of interests

Crown ResortsDateInterestPersonDetails
Raff Ciccone7/02/2012. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x tickets and hospitality to Crown IMG Tennis event, on 19 January 2020 guest of Crown Melbourne.

News

List of interests

SportsbetDateInterestPersonDetails
Raff Ciccone15/02/2212. Travel or hospitalitySelf1 x ticket and hospitality to the AO22 Men's Semi Final on 28 January 2022 at the Australian Open guest of the Sportsbet
Raff Ciccone28/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelf1 x ticket and hospitality to the Lexus Melbourne Cup on 2 November 2021 at the Flemington Racecourse guest of Sportsbet
Sussan Ley22/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfMelbourne Cup Luncheon at Royal Randwick provided by Sportsbet
Rob Mitchell7/02/2212. Travel or hospitalitySelfGuest of Sportsbet with spouse at Australian Open Men’s Semi-final on 28 January 2022
Rob Mitchell7/02/2212. Travel or hospitalitySpouse/partnerGuest of Sportsbet with spouse at Australian Open Men’s Semi-final on 28 January 2022
James Paterson30/01/2212. Travel or hospitalitySelfTwo tickets and hospitality to Oaks Day, Victoria Racing Club, 4 November, courtesy of Sportsbet

News

List of interests

Australian Hotels Association & Queensland Hotels AssociationDateInterestPersonDetails
Kevin Andrews6/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfI attended the annual Australian Hotels Association (AHA) Board meeting in Melbourne
Andrew Bragg18/10/1911. GiftsSelfIn kind donation from the Australian Hotels Association - NSW Branch in support of office opening on 25 September 2019.
Andrew Bragg14/08/2012. Travel or hospitalitySelfHospitality from the Australian Hotels Association - NSW Branch on 7 August 2020
Matt Keogh6/09/1911. GiftsSelfGift of ticket to AFL Game in Premium Suite, Optus Stadium, on Sunday, 11 August 2019 from AHA, Value: Unknown. With spouse.
Matt Keogh6/09/1911. GiftsSpouse/partnerGift of ticket to AFL Game in Premium Suite, Optus Stadium, on Sunday, 11 August 2019 from AHA, Value: Unknown. With spouse.
Michelle Landry8/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfTicket from the Australian Hotel Association for the AHA National Board Luncheon
James McGrath11/12/1911. GiftsSelfAlcohol from Queensland Hotels Association: 4 Cartons Beer - approximately $200; 2 Cartons x 6 Rose; 1 Carton x 6 Verdelho; 1 Carton x 6 Prosecco; 1 Carton x 6 Sparkling Wine - approximately $621.60 TOTAL: $821.60
Tim Wilson3/03/2011. GiftsSelfRed, white and sparkling wine from the Australian Hotels Association.

News

List of interests

Registered clubsDateInterestPersonDetails
Anthony Albanese26/11/2111. GiftsSelfGift hamper from ClubsACT
Jason Clare10/12/2111. GiftsSelf1 x gift box from Clubs NSW - received on 24 November 2021 - valued at $100
Joel Fitzgibbon25/11/1911. GiftsSelfA bottle of Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 from ClubsNSW
Matt Thistlethwaite29/11/2111. GiftsSelfChristmas Hamper (from Clubs NSW)

News

List of interests

RacingDateInterestPersonDetails
Simon Birmingham8/08/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelfTwo VIP passes for the 2019/2020 season provided by the Victoria Racing Club
Raff Ciccone9/02/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelf1 x ticket and hospitality to the C.F. Orr Stakes Family Day on 6 February 2021 guest of Melbourne Racing Club
Raff Ciccone28/04/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelf1 x ticket and hospitality to the 2021 MRC Foundation Blue Diamond Gala Ball on 22 April 2021 at Caulfield Racecourse guest of the Melbourne Racing Club
Raff Ciccone10/05/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelf1 x ticket and hospitality to the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival on 5 May 2021 at Warrnambool Racecourse guest of Australian Jumps Racing Association
Raff Ciccone15/02/2212. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x tickets and hospitality to the C.F. Orr Stakes Family Day on 12 February 2022 at the Caulfield Racecourse guest of the Melbourne Racing Club
Raff Ciccone28/11/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x tickets and hospitality to the Zipping Classic Day on 27 November 2021 at the Caulfield Racecourse guest of the Melbourne Racing Club
Damian Drum12/02/2012. Travel or hospitalitySelfAnnual entrance ticket for member only provided by Racing Victoria
Trevor Evans20/04/2112. Travel or hospitalitySelfTicket to Saturday Raceday at Eagle Farm 17 Apr 2021, including corporate hospitality, from Brisbane Racing Club - with partner
Trevor Evans20/04/2112. Travel or hospitalitySpouse/partnerTicket to Saturday Raceday at Eagle Farm 17 Apr 2021, including corporate hospitality, from Brisbane Racing Club - with partner
Patrick Gorman14/08/1911. GiftsSelf2 complimentary honourary guest passes and 1 vehicle pass for Gloucester Park Harness Racing (received 14th August 2019).
Andrew Hastie11/04/1913. MembershipsSelfGloucester Park Harness Racing Club: Honorary Member
Andrew Hastie11/04/1913. MembershipsSelfPinjarra Harness Racing Club: Patron? Deleted from register 1/02/21
Matt Keogh11/04/1913. MembershipsSelfGloucester Park Harness Racing: Honourary membership
Scott Morrison14/08/1913. MembershipsSelf2 x Honorary Memberships of the Victoria Racing Club
James Paterson30/01/2212. Travel or hospitalitySelfTwo tickets and hospitality to Oaks Day, Victoria Racing Club, 4 November, courtesy of Sportsbet
Christian Porter11/04/1913. MembershipsSelfGloucester Park Harness Racing (Honorary Member)
Glenn Sterle8/07/1911. GiftsSelfComplimentary Membership - Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Tim Wilson15/10/1911. GiftsSelf2x tickets to Caulfield Guineas, Melbourne Racing Club
Tim Wilson26/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x guest tickets for Melbourne Racing Club Committee Room, Caulfield Guineas, 2019 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival
Tim Wilson26/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x guest tickets for Lion Nathan Birdcage Enclosure, Derby Day, 2019 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival
Tim Wilson26/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x guest tickets for Melbourne Racing Club Committee Room, Peninsula Cup, 2019 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival
Tim Wilson26/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x guest tickets for Lion Nathan Birdcage Enclosure, Melbourne Cup Day, 2019 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival
Tim Wilson26/11/1912. Travel or hospitalitySelf2 x guest tickets for Penot Ricard Birdcage Enclosure, Stakes Day, 2019 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival