Aussie Pokie Reforms To Cost Australian Clubs 100M Plus

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:

G'day casino and gambling millionaires, billionaires, punters, legal eagles, and all. What's news in the Australian gambling and casino industry of late? A hell of a lots you're about to find out. Media Man and Gambling911 roam far and wide down under to bring you the news that matters...

New South Wales: Western Sydney Clubs: Westie Land To Lose Millions If Pokies Reforms Float; Thousands To Loose Jobs...

Westie land clubs will have to fork out $40 million for so for tech to be installed on poker machines that is supposed to stopping problem gambling. Many experts say problem gambling can't be stopped, as some people just have problems, and playing the pokies too much might be just one of their issues. The 'mandatory pre-commitment' technology requires every person who uses a pokie to have a licence to gamble and they will be restricted by betting limits. Reps from local clubs met in western outpost Orange on the weekend to discuss how they will be affected by the compulsory roll-out. The Clubs New South Wales Chairman, Peter Newell, says the technology has not worked in Norway and local clubs will lose around 40% of their yearly gaming revenue. "Forty-two million is the Central West figure, it runs to billions of dollars for the rest of New South Wales and Australia," he said. "Quite clearly they couldn't afford that just as the rest of the industry couldn't afford it. "The tragedy of it is, it will do nothing to assist problem gamblers." Clubs New South Wales says local sporting groups and community organisations will feel the impact of the lost revenue. Newell says there will be flow-on effects in towns where local clubs sponsor sporting groups and charities. "In many towns the local club is the town hall. "It's the meeting place, it's where people gather, it's where they socialise. "The local club puts in heaps of money and in kind support to local sport, the junior sport. "It will certainly be felt largely right across the state, but particularly in the regional areas." The Tasmanian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has demanded it be rolled out across Australia, in return for supporting Julia Gillard in the election deadlock.

Canberra; Having A Punt On Pokies Like Having A McDonald's Happy Meal; Just Don't Eat Too Much Too Often; Anything In Moderation; Pokies, Sex Et Al...

Head honcho at Woolworths' ('The Fast Cash People' - satire) gambling subsidiary, ALH has compared pokies to hamburgers, telling a parliamentary inquiry that both were safe unless in the hands of addicts. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, promised to introduce a national system to limit problem gambling in return for the support of the independent MP Andrew Wilkie to form minority government. The Woolworths subsidiary ALH told a parliamentary inquiry headed by r Wilkie that its poker machine division had "one of the highest gross profit margins" in the company, and its gambling revenue was likely to drop 20% if mandatory technology to control poker machine play was introduced. This would have an impact on jobs across its hospitality business, the ALH general manager, David Curry, said. "I think the product is safe. Some people have addictions, be it to fast food or drugs … are we asking, 'Is a hamburger safe?'," Curry said. He also said Woolworths would cut its $36.3 million spending on community programs if its poker machine revenue fell. "We don't think mandatory pre-commitment is sound policy … we do see that it will significantly impact recreational gamblers," he said. The industry body for poker machine suppliers estimated it would cost $1.5 billion to implement the national, mandatory scheme to limit problem gambling that the federal government has promised. Introducing a national system would be ''difficult, but technically feasible", the chief executive of the Gaming Technologies Association, Ross Ferrar, said. He said recreational gamblers would find it too intrusive and it would put at risk the financial viability of the industry. Ferrar said setting daily limits for gamblers was "an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff", and more immediate intervention with the compulsive gambler - sending dynamic messages that display on the pokie screen between presses of the button and disrupt the cycle of play - would work better. The federal government is considering a smart card or biometric system to identify individual players, but gaming company E-Bet said half of gamblers in NSW refuse to use card loyalty systems because of privacy concerns.

Aussie Banks Might Join Pokie War...

Australian banks would be able to stop pokie addicts getting cash from joint bank accounts under proposed rules. The Department of Families and Housing is putting forward the proposal as part of Federal Government reforms to the state administration of poker machines. Research by the SA Centre for Economic Studies is being considered by a panel of experts. The Government has promised tough action on the industry to help it retain the support of independents Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie and SA Senator Nick Xenophon. The proposal, which hinges on across the board co-operation from banks, would involve them monitoring customer spending habits. Initial concerns could be raised with the customer and ongoing concerns could be raised with the department. Ultimately, banks would have the power to stop large withdrawals from home loans or joint bank accounts, or refuse applications for further credit. An FaHCSIA spokesman said the policy proposal had not yet been released publicly. The State Government's Responsible Gambling Working Party has offered to assist with a trial of the project if financial institutions can be convinced it is viable. UnitingCare Wesley spokesman and member of the working party, Mark Henley, welcomed the idea of encouraging financial institutions to help in the fight against gambling addiction. He was critical of the failure of the banking industry to help regulators in the past. "I have had a bank debtors manager tell me that he could identify a problem gambler from one look at a customer's statement but officially, the banks deny this, of course," Henley said. "It would be great to put a bit of heat on the banks in terms of their customer responsibilities re gambling. "The SA Parliament decided years ago to set a withdrawal limit on ATMs in gaming rooms - I understand that this was taken to the Ministerial Council on Gambling and a working party established, because the banks said that they couldn't possibly do anything in one jurisdiction, but still, they have resisted acting at a national level." Banks yesterday would not commit to the proposal, but one spokesman for a bank that did not wish to express a public view told The Advertiser pokie addicts were often well known to bank branches and their withdrawal and lending practices could be at least questioned by staff. In hearings for an inquiry by  Wilkie and Senator Xenophon, witnesses described how pokies addicts lost possessions, including their homes, through addiction. Family breakdown caused by the loss of shared assets such as shared bank accounts and shared homes, has been a common theme.

Victoria: Club Italia Club Wants Pokies Please...

Club Italia Sporting club has appealed decisions by Brimbank Council and the Victorian Commission for Gaming Regulation not to grant permission for an additional 22 poker machines. VCAT decided last week that the club’s two applications for of the council’s decision and the other of the commission’s decision - could be heard at the same time over four days, beginning on May 23. Club Italia won entitlements for an extra 22 machines on top of the 38 they already have at last year’s State Government auction. But despite the results of the auction - which are to apply from 2012 - any venue wishing to operate additional machines must obtain approval from the VCGR and their local council. Brimbank Council knocked back Club Italia’s application last year and the commission did the same in December. In its December decision, the commission noted the municipality’s above-average spend on poker machines. "Average expenditure by adults on machines in the municipality is $1002, 54% above the state average and 46% above the metropolitan average," the commission said. Presenting the case for Club Italia, general manager at the time Charles D’Abico argued that profits from extra machines were needed to fund upgrade works and that the club existed solely for the purpose of providing community services and benefits."

Melbourne Black Saturday Fire Victims Don't Like Pokies Luck...

A regional community town victimised by the Black Saturday fires is fighting a bid by Tattersalls to put a pokies venue in their new housing estate. Residents of the Laurimar estate on the city's northern fringe claim pokies will lift crime rates in the area and have a financial impact on families. Whittlesea Council has gone to the VCAT in a bid to reverse a decision by the state's gambling regulator to grant a licence for the venue. Tattersalls wants to install 40 poker machines at the planned Laurimar hotel, with annual gaming revenue expected to reach up to $4.2 million. The Rev Glynis Dickins, pastor of Plenty Valley Baptist Church in Doreen, told a VCAT hearing that pokies were not welcome and locals were still traumatised by 2009's devastating fires. Ms Dickins said the fires came close to the suburb and some residents had family members and friends who died or who lost their homes. "The bushfires really upset them," she said. "We don't need something else that will upset this balance in their lives." Ms Dickins said developers of the Laurimar estate had indicated there would be no pokies venue on the site and residents had expected "nice little eating places with waterfront views". Told that the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation had described it as a boutique gaming venue, Ms Dickins said: "I don't think any sort of gaming room is appropriate to the area." A video featuring Laurimar residents and business owners who oppose the plan was shown to the hearing. It included claims that a pokie venue will attract crime, lead to financial pain for families and be a bad influence on children. Judge Felicity Hampel said it would be helpful if the parties could provide research on how new housing estates develop a "sense of community". The case continues.

James Packers' Crown Casino To Host TV Week Logies Again...

The Logie Awards will be held at Crown Casino, Melbourne on May 1. Voting for your fav celebs and shows closed on Sunday, February 20. Final nominations will be announced next week! Vote early, and vote often. Just kidding! How about, work hard and play harder!

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