Thu, Dec 5, 12:43pm by Ethan Anderson
Dubbo’s mayor says he will no longer support a casino in the regional town after strong community backlash.
The idea was proposed by councillor John Ryan at the November council meeting, according to the Daily Liberal.
Dubbo Regional Council is looking into the idea, with Cr Ryan wanting a casino for Dubbo to draw international tourists to the region.
His plan is for it to be not-for-profit, with the money it generates going back into community projects.
The councillor says the casino would also be without poker machines, to ensure business is not taken away from local pubs and clubs.
Since the idea was raised, mayor Ben Shields said he had received a large number of phone calls from community members and organisations who were against a casino.
The mayor said concerns had been raised about social issues, such as gambling addiction.
“Because there is so much community angst against the casino, I won’t be supporting it unless I can see some kind of community turn around for it. But at the moment, it’s clear the community is saying outright they’re against the proposal,” Cr Shields said.
He said it was still worth investigating the proposal but at this stage, the community was “dead against it.”
At the November council meeting, the councillors in attendance voted unanimously in their support of ‘DubVegas’.
Cr Shields said it had “the potential to be a great economic boom generator for Dubbo” and “would employ a lot of people and bring in a hell of a lot of tourists.”
While not everyone was against the proposal, the mayor said he would be voting against taking it any further when it came up again in April.
However, he said he encourage both those who were against the idea and those who supported it to get in touch.
Despite no longer supporting the casino, Cr Shields said he always welcomed councillors bringing forward ideas that would attract tourists to the local government area.
For a casino to be constructed, the New South Wales government would have to permit a restricted gaming licence in Dubbo.
Mayor withdraws support for DubVegas after community response https://t.co/rL81Irvdrw
— Daily Liberal (@dailyliberal) December 3, 2019
Poker machine players in Dubbo and Wellington in New South Wales lost almost $38 million to clubs and pubs last year, the Daily Liberal reported in May.
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.
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.
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