Brimbank sets record for single day pokies loss
A Victorian local government area has recorded its highly daily losses from poker machines in the latest data released by the state’s gambling regulator.
Gambling News reports that Brimbank in Melbourne’s west recorded a poker machine loss of $482,168 in February.
This record daily figure adds to the region’s soaring poker machine spend, with $14.6 million lost in March alone.
Despite the COVID-19 lockdown shutting venues with poker machines in the region, it has recorded losses of nearly $14 million per month since venues reopened.
Brimbank mayor Ranka Rasic said more than $1.4 billion has been lost to gambling in the area in the past decade.
In light of these losses, the Victorian legislature is trying to push a reform that may reduce losses and protect players, by reducing the operating hours of gaming venues.
Furthermore, Brimbank has proposed a $1 cap on bets and EFTPOS daily withdrawal limits of $500.
Tackling gambling harm remains a contentious topic in Victoria, with lawmakers having proposed a freeze on the number of gaming machines in the state until 2042.
Proposed changes also include limiting cheque cashing services near gambling venues and curbing advertising.
Pokies caps proposed for Tasmania
While Victoria looks to overhaul its gambling policy, the nearby Tasmanian government’s future gaming policy, released in March, proposed to cap the state’s gaming machines at 2350, creating individual licences for hotels and clubs.
It also allows for two “high-roller” casino licences, tenders the monitoring of the gaming industry and proposes to adjust how profits from the machines are distributed.
Since 2003, a portion of the profit made from the machines, as well as licensing fees, has gone to a Community Support Levy.
The levy pool funds and dispenses them across charitable organisations, aimed at gambling harm minimisation.
That portion has been four per cent of monthly gross profits.
The new proposal has this increasing to five per cent from pubs, four per cent from clubs and extending the payment to casinos, who would contribute three per cent.
Currently, the legislation requires the government to sanction a social and economic report on the impact of gambling every three years.
The proposed legislation changes the time frame to five years.
Crown left hanging as Star gains exclusivity
Further north in New South Wales, the state government signed an exclusivity deal with the Star Entertainment Group to ensure it will be the state’s exclusive casino rights operator of poker machines for the next 20 years, despite lobbying by Crown Resorts to alter the terms of the agreement.
Crown was said to be close to signing a memorandum of understanding a few years ago that would have allowed it to operate poker machines at its yet to be opened casino at Barangaroo.
Under the government agreement signed with The Star, if the exclusivity deal is altered, the incumbent casino pokie operator will receive nonspecific compensation.
Many casino analysts had assumed a strong likelihood Crown would ultimately be successful in its quest to remove the slot ban.
The Star’s share price initially spiked on the back of the news, as it continues to be the state’s sole casino operator, while Crown continues to reorganise its business following the damning Bergin Inquiry report, which recommended that it was unfit to hold a casino licence in the state.