The community services sector, and WACOSS as the peak body of the sector in WA, have concerns about a Bill currently before State Parliament, which will see the inclusion of ‘Trackside’ as part of the privatisation of TAB (betting agencies). Trackside is an electronic gambling machine that simulates horse and dog races.

WACOSS strongly opposes the introduction of electronic gambling machines beyond the current restrictions. WA is the only state in Australia where electronic gambling machines are banned outside of the casino in Perth. ‘Trackside’ has been described as “pokies by stealth”.

For the details of what the introduction of these electronic gambling machines will mean for Western Australians, a presentation was delivered to all participants of a Forum on Monday 5 August. Download this PowerPoint Presentation here.

The Bill 

The TAB (Disposal) Bill 2019 is currently before Parliament – view or download The Bill here.


WACOSS  encourages its members to write to their local MP and all members of the Legislative Council to express your opposition to the introduction of simulated racing machines into WA.

Download this letter template and write to your local Member of Parliament, explaining the impact of the introduction of these machines. The more personalised the stories, the better.

The Advocacy Toolkit is a helpful guide to help community service organisations and individuals to advocate for issues of importance.


WACOSS, Anglicare WA, and the Public Health Association of Australia released a joint media release Monday 5 August 2019, calling on the State Government to not include simulated racing machines as part of the sale of TAB. Read the joint media release here.

In October last year, WACOSS and the Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA (FCAWA), called on the State Government to ensure any sale of the TAB included mandatory funding for gambling harm. Read the joint media release, from 10 October 2019 here.

Media coverage

Health warnings over WA’s plans to introduce “pokies by stealth” – – Sunday 4 August 2019

Past catches up with McGowan in TAB sale – The West Australian – Tuesday 16 October 2018

WA Labor uses TAB sale to soften virtual gaming ban – The Financial Review – Wednesday 10 October 2018

Fears virtual horse races may pose a new gambling threat to WA amid TAB sale reform – ABC  News Online – Wednesday 11 July 2018

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