Could Dubbo be the home of a new casino?
A casino in Dubbo would ensure the long-term viability of the city according to regional councillor John Ryan.
Central Western Daily reports that Cr Ryan wants the New South Wales to permit a restricted gaming licence for Dubbo to allow a casino.
It’s part of his plan to attract international visitors to Dubbo and the region.
However, this would be not-for-profit and contain no poker machines.
“For the people who are concerned about the issue of gambling and problem gamblers, I say that horse has already well and truly bolted,” the councillor said.
“There are unlimited means to gamble these days, including a myriad of choices via online bookies and gambling sites, so that genie is well and truly out of the bottle. It’s unlikely a restricted casino licence in Dubbo will add to those problems.”
By having no poker machines, Cr Ryan said the casino wouldn’t take business away from pubs and clubs.
But the money generated from the business could be used to fund projects in the city.
“I believe the not-for-profit dollars should be used in areas of grassroots proactive drug and alcohol initiatives, rehab and detoxification, the restoration of fish habitats in our rivers and all those things which provide intangible community wellbeing, but which receive little or no funding,” Cr Ryan said.
He said anything from the rehabilitation facility for Dubbo to bid on an NRL game could be paid for with the profits.
Cr Ryan said the casino could be used as a training ground for people from low socio-economic backgrounds so they could gain the skills for a career.
“That could have a massive impact when it comes to decent jobs and career paths for people from the local Indigenous community, where opportunities are currently, sadly, lacking,” the councillor said.
The motion calling for council to advocate to the New South Wales government for the gaming licence was unanimously supported by Dubbo regional councillors on Monday night.
Councillors Jane Diffey, Anne Jones and Stephen Lawrence were not in attendance.
Cr Ran said he had been speaking to some senior government ministers about the idea and they had seemed enthusiastic.
Nearly $38m lost on Dubbo poker machines
Poker machine players in Dubbo and Wellington in New South Wales lost almost $38 million to clubs and pubs last year, the Daily Liberal is reporting.
Statistics from Liquor and Gaming NSW show that the $37,943,741 in net gaming machine profits were collected by 27 venues in the Dubbo Regional Council area in 2018, up on the $36,799,817 collected in 2017.
The increase in player losses and venue profits came despite less gaming machines being in the community at the end of 2018, when there were 696 machines compared to 730 at the end of 2017.
Venues paid $8,404,231 in tax on their gaming machine profits in 2018, an increase on the $7,923,004 paid in tax in 2017.
The total net profit figure for 2018 meant each gaming machine in the local council area could have collected an average profit of $54,516.
The average profit per machine is about $17,000 more than a year’s salary on the minimum wage and about $30,000 more than a year of the age pension for a single person.
Dubbo RSL draws biggest profits
In the last six month of 2018, Dubbo RSL was the club which drew the most profits from gaming machines in the Dubbo Regional Council area, followed by Club Dubbo, Wellington Soldiers Memorial Club, Dubbo Railway Bowling and Dubbo City Bowling Club, which round out the top five.
The Macquarie Inn was the pub with the most profitable machines, followed by the Milestone Hotel, South Dubbo Tavern, Castlereagh Hotel and Amaroo Hotel.
Tim Costello from the Alliance for Gambling Reform claimed $779,000 an hour was lost on 93,165 machines across NSW in 2018.
“This is a social disaster needing urgent action,” he said.
Mr Costello called on the NSW Government to introduce $1 maximum bets, reduce the hours gaming machines can operate and ban loyalty programs which could reward and encourage gambling.