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Nearly $38m lost on Dubbo poker machines

Thu, May 30, 8:46am by Staff Writer

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.

“Clubs in the Dubbo Regional Council area make an enormous contribution to the community, catering to their collective 30,000 members, employing 291 locals, making a $7.5 million social contribution and donating more than $412,000 annually to local charities, sporting teams and community groups through the ClubGRANTS scheme,” a ClubsNSW spokesperson said.

“These groups include Dubbo Legacy, Lifeline Central West, Group 11 Rugby League, the Dubbo Show Society and local schools.”

“According to state government figures the problem gambling prevalence rate in NSW is just 0.8 per cent of the adult population, which is low by international standards.”

“For the small percentage of people who do have a problem, ClubsNSW has developed a suite of world’s best-practice harm minimisation initiatives known as the ClubSAFE program.

These include the multi-venue self-exclusion scheme, which allows people to voluntarily exclude themselves from every club and pub in Dubbo and Wellington if they so choose.

“ClubSAFE also operates a 24-hour gambling counseling helpline, and rugby league great Nathan Hindmarsh is a ClubSAFE ambassador, spreading the message that if you have a problem, it’s OK to ask for help.”

Maximum bet now two pounds on FOBTs in the UK

The betting industry in the United Kingdom is bracing for dramatic reforms to its fixed-odd betting terminals.

Casino.org is reporting that the industry relies heavily on the machines, drawing more than half of their retail revenues from them.

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission has moved swiftly to hasten the impact of gambling on the nation, with the maximum odds on the machines cut from £100 (A$183) to £2 (A$3.67).

It is the culmination of two years of regulatory reviews and legislative debate that has been hotly contested.

Culture secretary Jeremy Wright announced the reforms to the controversial machines in November, saying that a number of senior Conservative Party figures added their named to an amendment designed to force the government’s hand.

“The government has been clear that protecting vulnerable people is the prime concern, but that as a responsible government it is also right to take the needs of those employed by the gambling industry into account and provide time for an orderly transition,” Mr Wright said.

In his budget announcement in late October, chancellor Philip Hammond said the change in betting limits per spin would be implemented in October 2019, angering campaigners and politicians who say the machines are too addictive and contribute to social problems.

The bookmaking industry is undoubtedly facing a huge loss of revenue from the stakes cut, but the government is hitting them even harder, by increasing the taxes on online gambling to plug the shortfall in revenue losses.

It is a double whammy for the bookies, who are claiming 4,500 shops will close and 21,000 people will lose their jobs.


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