ABC Australia wants to learn more about gambling industry

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
ABC Australia wants to learn more about gambling industry

Australians lose more money each year from gambling per head of population than any country in the world, double the average of countries like the United States, New Zealand and Ireland.

The ABC reports that Australians lose around $24 billion annually from gambling.

The majority comes from poker machine losses, but increasingly, thousands of young people are losing money on sports betting – an industry that is spending up big on marketing and advertising.

The clubs that house the majority of poker machines and the sports betting companies that benefit from generous tax breaks, yet there’s very little transparency about how this industry works.

Industry insider tips will form the backbone of the report

The ABC says that it knows gambling is a widespread, national issue affecting millions of Australians, so they want to find out more about what happens behind the scenes of Australia’s gambling industry; to hear from people who have worked inside the industry and those who have lost money.

They’re eager to learn about the tactics used to keep punters punting, whether technology is being used to maximise losses and minimise payouts and how lobbying campaigns target the politicians responsible for the gambling industry.

Any information given will be treated as strictly confidential and won’t be published with identity or without permission.

Casino Canberra losses pile up

The losses for Casino Canberra have been piling up.

Casino Aus reported in September that with the reporting of the first half of 2019, the casino lost another $2.5 million.

Losses have been increasing from one year to the next for the past several years.

Could a government development save the day though?

The casino first opened in 1994, located in the central business district of Australia’s capital city.

The casino did well for many years. It now has 39 gaming tables for table games like blackjack, roulette, as well as a poker room and sports lounge affiliated with TAB.

There are regulators and a stream of customers that prefer that type of gambling.

But Casino Canberra hasn’t been able to keep up with the times for several reasons.

First and most importantly, it is not licensed to operate pokies.

The lack of that gambling option for casino customers has proven to be a detriment.

Second, it is not operated in conjunction with a hotel or concert venue, things that help more modern casinos attract customers.

Casinos Australia International was the original operator of the casino.

It was acquired by the Aquis Group, owned by Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung in 2014.

Last year, Blue Whale Entertainment acquired the casino for $32 million.

And that made Blue Whale a majority shareholder in Aquis Entertainment.

More than $2.5m lost

According to the financials for the first six months of 2019 – the period ending June 30 – Casino Canberra reported a loss of $2,553,772.

That loss was up from the same period in 2018, at which point the company reported a loss of $2,156,212.

The year-on-year losses increased by 18.4 per cent.

Revenue was down as well.

Casino Canberra reported $11,985,114 in revenue, down 2.7 per cent from $12,317,421 in the same period last year.

EBITDA was down 176.2 per cent, earnings before interest and tax were down 34.7 per cent and operating costs had increased, though not significantly.

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