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Australia Clubs Smoking Ban No Longer Major Impact on Poker Machines

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Feb/05/2009

THE $1.7 million-a-day impact of the indoor smoking ban on poker machine revenues is over, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday morning.

According to that paper, an extra $500 million was fed into club slot machines in December compared with the previous December, when the ban was just six months old.

The increased turnover yielded an additional $40 million in revenue for clubs and was just $8 million shy of the amount collected in December 2006.

While a government stimulus package of $8.7 billion may have helped contribute to the increased revenue, club owners believe it is more a case of gamblers adapting to the new laws.

The chief executive of Clubs NSW, David Costello, said there had been a steady rise in monthly poker machine revenues since July last year, long before the stimulus package came into play.

"Growth in five out of the past six months, combined with the recent fall in petrol prices and interest rates, suggests that the worst of the smoking ban impact is behind clubs," The chief executive of Clubs NSW, David Costello, said.

At the same time there has been a marked decrease in the number of clubs - and particularly hotels - receiving special "hardship" tax provisions on poker machine revenue.

But alas, Australian Hotels Association, Sally Fielke, said it would be wrong to speculate that hotels were out of the smoking ban doldrums.

"The decrease in hardship applications for the December quarter related more to the fact that venues were unaware they had to reapply for the quarter than any marked recovery in gaming revenue for that quarter," Ms Fielke said.

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