MEMBERS and staff at the Seagulls Club, Tweed Heads are angry and "bewildered" over a management decision to ban staff from gambling activities at the club.
Staff were told via their head office at Norths in Sydney that off-duty gambling was "no longer acceptable" and failure to comply would result in "disciplinary action" or possible dismissal.
Member Greg Clayton said he is shocked at the decision.
"This action has impacted terribly on staff morale," he said.
"They are extremely upset and can't see the reasoning behind it."
Mr Clayton claims the decision was made without consultation with staff or members and with no justification.
"It all very 'cloak and dagger' and a real slap in the face to staff," he said.
"Staff and their families support and have supported the club for many years and bring in significant revenue to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
"It doesn't make sense and will greatly affect the club's future."
A staff member said club management was "shooting itself in the foot."
"Members are as upset as the staff over this," he said.
"It's a shot out of the blue.
"Staff members have always complied with club rules in regard to gambling.
"We can't see why there are changes to a system that works well.
"A substantial loss in revenue is inevitable.
"And that ultimately means job losses."
Mr Clayton is applying for membership of the board of directors.
"There are five directors, of which only two are from Seagulls," he said.
"That's hardly democratic"
.Mr Clayton said he requested access to the minutes of the meeting where the decision was made.
"I was told that I wasn't entitled to see them," Mr Clayton said.
"Yet the club is, as stated by management, owned by members and the community."
Head of people, Business and Culture for the Norths club group, Morgan Stewart stated in a memorandum to Seagulls staff that no staff (including management and contractors) are permitted to undertake any gambling activities of any kind at any of the Norths Group properties from Monday, April 30.
"It is the Clubs view that off-duty gambling is no longer acceptable." the memorandum said.
Norths Group Board of Directors' Luke Simmons said two studies conducted by Southern Cross University found that staff who work in gaming venues have a greater risk of developing gambling problems than the general population.
"The Board and Management at all levels actively support a culture of responsible gambling for all members and guests so they are not encouraged to develop gambling problems."
"This culture of responsible gambling flows through to staff, who are encouraged to socialise in ways that do not involve gambling.
"If staff choose to spend their leisure time at our club, then they may do so without the pressure from their peers to gamble."
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