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Queensland Premier talks pokies and tourism hub

Thu, Feb 21, 10:05am by Staff Writer

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has taken a stance on pokies, with The Brisbane Times reporting that the Premier wants fewer pokies in the state.

Despite not supporting a total pokies ban, Ms Palaszczuk spoke about the rise of e-gaming.

“It is about how you keep up with technology,” she said.

“I would actually like to see in the future that we actually have less pokies in Queensland.”

“I think we’re all aware that there are some issues associated with people who do get addicted to gambling and we do have funding set aside for that,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Queenslanders lost more than $2.4 billion to poker machine in 2018.

That equates to more than $6 million a day, or a staggering $4,572 every minute.

This eclipses figures from 2017, where $2 billion was lost.

A$215 million was lost in a single calendar month in July 2017 on poker machines, representing the highest amount lost in a month since figures were taken in 2004.

The Queensland government received A$687 million in revenue from gaming machines in 2016-17 according to budget papers.

The Queensland government distributes almost A$53 million a year from gambling taxes to community groups under the Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

The areas that suffered the most loss included the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Logan, Brisbane South and Ipswich.

In Queensland, poker machines in pubs and clubs must provide a return rate of 85 per cent while machines located in casinos must provide a return rate of 90 per cent.

The year delivered a dark record for the Sunshine State, eclipsing the highest losses on record, with data dating back to 2004.

In 2017-18, the Queensland government received $718 million in revenue from gaming machine taxes.

That is expected to rise to $750 million in 2018-19 according to budget papers.

Pokies were king when it came to losses from all types of gambling.

$868 million was lost at casinos, $422 million on the lottery, $248 million on wagering and $93 million on Keno.

Residents of Brisbane sucked up the most cash from pokies last year, draining $531 million.

That was followed by the Gold Coast at $336 million, Moreton Bay with $212 million, Logan recorded losses of $164 million, while the Sunshine Coast eclipsed $150 million.

Greens MP Michael Berkman has called for pokies in pubs and clubs to be phased out in Queensland, in a similar pledge Tasmanian Labor took to their last election campaign, which they ultimately lost.

There are more poker machines in the state today, but less locations where gamblers can play.

In July 2004, there were 38.265 operational poker machines in Queensland at 1,353 sites.

Fast forward to December 2018 and there are 42,290 machines in just 1,124 sites.

Premier considers ‘global tourism hub’

Alliance for Gambling Reform director Tim Costello said losses kept rising because machines were becoming more addictive, as well as the implantation of sophisticated rewards schemes.

He called for the Queensland government to reduce the maximum bet from $5 to $1, cut machine numbers, reduce trading hours and for councils to be given more powers over the approval process.

Clubs Queensland communications manager Laura Bos said clubs actively promoted responsible gambling and clubs returned $850 million a year to the community.

Ms Palaszczuk also addressed the proposed ‘global tourism hub’ on the Gold Coast, which would include a second casino.

“Which would mean a second casino license,” she reiterated.

“And one of our thoughts around that proposal would be no net increase in poker machines,” the Premier said.

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