Local News

Gamblers lose $20.7million in six months

Geoff Helisma

The latest data from Liquor & Gaming NSW has revealed that Clarence Valley local government area residents lost $20,727,573 to poker machines in the last six months of 2020.

The data for clubs cover a time span of June 1 to November 30; the hotels from July 1 to December 31.

There were 691 poker machines distributed across the Clarence Valley Local Government Area (LGA); 214 of which were in 22 hotels and 477 of which were in 12 clubs.

There has been a reduction in the number of machines since the Liquor & Gaming NSW started publishing the statistics from December 2016 – prior to this the data was only available on request as reported in the story in May 2017, ‘Buttons, bells and whistles’, using data obtained by NSW Greens MP Justin Field.

At the end of 2016 there was a total of 818 poker machines in the LGA; 257 in 29 hotels and 561 in 14 clubs – over the four-year period there were seven fewer in hotels and two fewer in clubs.

Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&G) has changed its method of reporting, with turnover no longer a part of the data.

“Nett profit [after tax] has replaced turnover as the main data category for financial impacts of gaming machine activity,” an L&G fact sheet states.

“This is because nett profit is the best indicator of how much money communities lose on gaming machines.”

The data also ranks pubs and clubs across the state by gaming machine nett profit: Yamba Bowling & Recreation Club Limited, ranked 191st with 75 machines; Yamba Golf & Country Club Limited, ranked 430th with 56 machines; Grafton District Services Club, ranked 126th with 128 machines; South Grafton District Ex-Servicemen’s Club, ranked 348th with 61 machines; and, Maclean & District Bowling Club, ranked 247th with 47 machines.

Each of the 214 machines in the valley’s 22 hotels averaged a $27,719 profit – total nett profit across the LGA $5,931,919, tax $1,375,208.

Whereas each of the 477 machines in the valley’s 12 clubs averaged a $24,501 profit – total nett profit across the LGA $11,687,139 tax $1,733,307.

Across the entire state of NSW, 1,042 clubs (66,489 machines) made a nett profit of $2.171billion and paid $436,741,144 tax – $32,653 profit per machine.

Whereas the state’s 1,284 hotels (22,519 machines) made a nett profit of $1.568billion and paid $559,279,753 in tax – $69,628 profit per machine.

“In NSW, gaming machines must return at least 85 per cent of turnover [to players], over the playing out of their full course of combinations, with the average return of all gaming machines being about 90 per cent,” the L&G fact sheet states.