ClubsNSW say implementing $1 maximum bets on poker machines “would force many clubs to close their doors” – despite calls from the Alliance for Gambling Reform for clubs to implement the recommendation from the Productivity Commission.
Data from the NSW Department of Primary Industry shows the Eurobodalla Shire’s hotels and clubs made the second-highest profits from poker machines in the south east region over the past six months.
But a ClubsNSW spokesperson says the clubs make “an enormous contribution to the community”.
“Eurobodalla clubs employ 380 locals and provide more than $400,000 per year in funding for local charities, sporting teams and community groups,” the spokesperson said.
“Eurobodalla clubs also offer affordable food and entertainment for their more than 45,000 members. They make a $30.9 million economic contribution to the Eurobodalla region, and pay $3.7 million in gaming tax to the state government, helping to provide better roads, education and health services locally.”
The spokesperson said problem gambling affected 0.8 per cent of the adult population – however, Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello said losses on poker machines average out at $1000 per adult per year.
The ClubsNSW spokesperson said clubs have harm-reduction strategies for problem gamblers.
“ClubsNSW has developed a series of harm-minimisation programs, including multi-venue self-exclusion which enables people to self-exclude from every poker machine venue in the Local Government Area if they so choose,” the spokesperson said.
“There is no empirical evidence to suggest (maximum $1 bets) would help a single problem gambler, but it would devastate the not-for-profit club industry – particularly in regional areas.”