Steps taken to redress global anomaly in Australia’s pubs and clubs

Steps taken to redress global anomaly in Australia’s pubs and clubs

Friday, December 15, 2017 Posted by Luke Massey
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76% of poker machines not in dedicated gambling venues are in Australia

Poker habits in Australia have been criticised by a Canberra based think tank over the unusual decision to allow “high intensity” poker machines in pubs and clubs across the country.

A report from ‘The Australia Institute’ has found that there are 183,000 of these machines outside of casinos and dedicated gambling venues in Australia.

This represents 76% of the 241,000 machines not housed in specific gambling venues such as casinos, race tracks, betting agencies and slot halls. It has been estimated that there are another 835,000 of these poker machines worldwide, for a total of 1,076,000.

The report’s co-author Bill Browne said: “Australia has 0.3% of the world’s population, but 6% of its conventional gaming machines and 18% of its poker machines.

“Only 241,000 of the world’s poker machines are outside of dedicated gaming venues – of which 183,000 are in Australian pubs and clubs. Therefore, Australia has over 75% of the world’s pub and club poker machines.”

“In terms of machines per person, Australia is right up there with casino-states like Monaco, Macau and Caribbean Island nations,” Browne added. “The large number of poker machines and our unusual decision to allow them in pubs and clubs make us a global anomaly.”

Publishing of the report comes after the Tasmanian Labor Party announced a new policy to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs in the state by 2023. The state may choose to adopt an Anglicare proposal to replicate Western Australia’s restriction to just casinos.

Anglicare report author John Mangan has highlighted losses of $113 million each year from poker machines in pubs and clubs in Tasmania, a state with an estimated 2,000 problem gamblers, 6,000 moderate risk gamblers and 15,000 low risk-gamblers.

Leanne Minshull, Director of The Australia Institute Tasmania, commented: “Tasmania has more pokies than India, Italy and the Netherlands combined; most countries, 226 out of 238, do not have any poker machines in pubs and clubs.

“Tasmanian Labor’s policy of getting Poker machines out of Tasmania’s pubs and clubs is not a radical step but a step towards a global norm. If Tasmania joined WA in banning pub and club poker machines, they would be following the vast majority of the world’s countries.”

Totally Gaming says: It’s interesting that a country with such a small population lays claim to such a high percentage of poker machines outside of dedicated gambling venues. Anglicare author John Mangan has suggested a revised economic model which assumes that people would be less likely to spend money on these machines at casinos, rather than at their local pub or club.

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