NSW And Our Government’s Pokie Obsession

A record $73 billion was pumped through NSW pokies last financial year – an increase of more than $4 billion that has experts and thought leaders alike questioning the NSW government’s efforts to cut the number of machines to reduce gambling-related harm.

As we here at RSLPokies.com have already established,

The money generated from gambling related tax revenue (upwards of $20BILLION in the 2012 financial year) is more than enough to motivate the government and those in power (read: ClubsNSW) to put in place any and all legislation that encourages the growth of this revenue.

nsw government want a monopoly on pokie profits

And while some may cry foul and claim that we are just another conspiracy based website that just wants to make noise for the sake of it, the documents, articles, media stories and government papers that are made public consistently support and uphold the above claim. It’s fair enough that you don’t want to take the word of some random website like RSLPokies.com but what about someone with a little more authority? Mr Fairfax perhaps…

Our Government Tries Their Hand at Magic & Misdirection

dont let clubsnsw ruin your community for profitsA Fairfax Media analysis of new figures published by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority reveal NSW poker machine turnover – as distinct from profit or losses – was $73.3 billion in 2014-15, up from $68.9 billion the previous year. The increase of $4.3 billion – or 6 per cent – was despite the number of gaming machines operating in NSW pubs and clubs falling by 244 to 93,364 in the same period.

Hmmmm. So while ClubsNSW appear on the surface to be making an effort to reduce the damage and impact of problem gambling (through the superficial removal of 244 pokies acoss their establishments), the dramatic increase in poker machine turnover reveals the horrible truth – that ClubsNSW are not only ignoring their obligations to reduce problem gambling in the state, they are actively and openly going the complete opposite way!

You don’t increase your annual turnover by $4.3BILLION accidentally.

I highlighted that line because ClubsNSW is a business, and like any business the need to understand your customer base, your potential audience, the various demographics your target markets cover, and your own product or service is paramount. You don’t run a business and turn over profits unless your understanding is thorough – and with an increase of over $4billion it seems the team at ClubsNSW REALLY KNOW THEIR AUDIENCE.

The Better You Understand Your Target Market, the Better Your Business Will be More You Can FUCK THEM OVER

If we take a look at the profits from an individual suburb point of view we begin to see a worrying trend that hints at the reason why poker machine turnover has increased so dramatically. What we also begin to see is a trend that suggests ClubsNSW and our Government have little to no ethics and a moral compass that appears out of order because while individuals and community groups band together to fight the growing problems associated with gambling addiction, ClubsNSW are crunching the numbers and making sure the poorest suburbs where problem gambling is already rife get the most number of pokies – thus enabling and encouraging the growth of problem gambling within those areas.

Fairfax has obtained state government data showing which of Sydney’s 40 council areas lose the most money playing poker machines in registered clubs.
Four of the five suburbs registering the fastest-growing and largest losses are ranked Sydney’s top-five most disadvantaged areas by the Bureau of Statistics.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/poker-machine-profits-come-from-sydneys-poorest-suburbs-20151023-gkh7j4.html#ixzz474ln8Frf

“Keep them playing and the profits will keep coming” seems to be the general attitude and I put it out there that perhaps if you were to visit the head offices of ClubsNSW you would find this written on their wall as a kind of mission statement or company vision declaration, motivating all within to keep fighting the good pokie profit fight.

A Worrying Trend

southport RSL pokies lining floor

Data obtained from the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing compared the amount lost in each suburb between two quarterly snapshots in 2011 and 2015.

Across NSW the total amount gambled on the pokies each year has increased by more than $7 billion since 2011, based on projections from the quarterly figures. But more than one-third of this comes from just five disadvantaged parts of Sydney.  “This is truly alarming, since these areas have only 10 per cent of the NSW population,” said Francis Markham a gambling researcher at the Australian National University.  “We now know that the concentration of gambling losses among the poorest is intensifying.”

The figures suggest annual profits have shot up by as much as $415 million over the past four years: $160 million of which comes from these five areas alone.

Playing Fair(field)

Fairfield is ranked as Sydney’s most disadvantaged suburb by the ABS, a measure that takes into account residents’ average incomes, education, family stability and English skills.
Fairfield is rank as Sydney’s most profitable suburb by Clubs NSW and the government and has the highest pokie turnover

  • In the local government area of Fairfield, pokie gamblers pushed $7.6 billion through 3300 machines during 2014-15.
  • Fairfield gamblers are staking up to $1.2 billion a year more through poker machines than they were four years ago.
  • Pokie gambling in the Fairfield area increased by $629 million compared with the previous financial year. The surge in turnover occurred despite there being 410 fewer gaming machines in the area at June 30.
  • There were 2917 gaming machines in registered clubs within the Fairfield local government area and 477 in pubs, meaning on average $2.2 million was gambled on each machine in the past financial year.

Canterbury is ranked as Sydney’s 2nd most disadvantaged suburb by the ABS, a measure that takes into account residents’ average incomes, education, family stability and English skills.
Canterbury is ranked as Sydney’s 2nd most profitable suburb by Clubs NSW and the government and has the second highest pokie turnover

  • In Canterbury, gamblers put $3.67 billion through machines last financial year – up $223 million on the previous period.
  • Yet the number of machines fell by 211 to 1988 at June 30 – meaning that, on average, $1.8 million was gambled on each machine during the year.

Bankstown is ranked as Sydney’s 4th most disadvantaged suburb by the ABS, a measure that takes into account residents’ average incomes, education, family stability and English skills.
Bankstown is ranked as Sydney’s 3rd most profitable suburb by Clubs NSW and the government and has the third highest pokie turnover

  • Gamblers in Bankstown put $3.66 billion through local gaming machines last financial year – an annual increase of $254 million.
  • During the period, the number of machines in Bankstown fell by 236 to 2527 at June 30 for an average annual turnover of $1.4 million each.

Rounding out the top-five losing areas are Holroyd, its seventh; and Auburn, its third most disadvantaged suburb

(Due to the limits of government data, Auburn’s figures also include losses incurred in Strathfield, an area with less than half its population but that ranks in the middle for Sydney suburbs on socioeconomic measures).

Looking at the chart reveals a scary picture – kind of like those 3D images except instead of a tree or a sailboat it’s a picture of your local community GETTING RAPED BY CLUBS-NSW!

NSW Pokie losses by suburb

Overall, NSW pokie gamblers lost more than $7.3 billion last financial year.

Understanding The Psychology of Why

A former top NSW gaming executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that growing patronage in these suburbs came after the industry increased the rate of payouts from poker machines.

“That had the effect of increasing time spent on poker machines, a tactic that paid off the most in the south-west,” the source said.
“In the 1980s it was sitting at 87 cents [per dollar gambled]. 
“[Now it’s at] 92%…some machines are sitting on 95. Players get more entertainment, they stay on the machine longer and they get a good experience”

“The lower socioeconomic people need an escape. They get a good experience from gaming…they tend to spend more time.
“You’ve got big clubs where people go to meet. They see all this beautiful furniture they haven’t got in their homes. It’s an escape.
“People that are lonely talk to the machines and they talk to [another gambler] who gets a pay[out] and that’s the psychology. There’s no denying that.
“In the eastern suburbs you’ll get larger individual bets but they’ll lose less overall [because] they don’t have the time.”


NSW Pokie losses in richer suburbs


Harm Minimisation and the Reduction of Problem Gambling

The annual report of licensed clubs umbrella lobby group ClubsNSW says its focus is to:

”deliver a range of relavant [sic] and affordable services and effective representation that helps create long-term sustainability for the club industry.
As well, we seek to improve conditions for those working within the NSW club industry and the local communities they support.”

And yet the statistics tell a very different story…

Learn More about what ClubsNSW are NOT doing and why they need to be made accountable once and for all.

  • Not For Profit? You Mean Not For People!