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Clarence Valley gamblers contributed to the more than $20 million in profit made by poker machines in the local government area between June and November 2022. Image: contributed

Valley’s $20 million share of $8.1 billion pokie profit

Rodney Stevens


As the cost-of-living crisis hits Clarence Valley families and individuals hard, people across the region are still pouring their money into gaming machines, with the latest data revealing pokie profits have increased by $1.5 billion in NSW on pre-pandemic levels with locals contributing more than $20 million.

The data from Liquor and Gaming NSW shows, coinciding with lockdown periods, NSW pokie profits dropped by 35 and 43 per-cent respectively in the first half of 2020 and the second half of 2021, but rebounded to $8.1 billion in 2022.

Gamblers in the Clarence Valley Local Government Area LGA contributed to a 22 per-cent increase in profits compared to 2019, with local gaming machines recording a profit of more than $20 million in clubs and hotels in just 182 days, an average of $109,890.11 per day.

In clubs across the Clarence Valley LGA between June 1 and November 30, 2022, 465 gaming machines across 11 clubs in the Local Government Area LGA generated a profit of $12,925,359.00.

The profit from Clarence Valley clubs generated by gaming machines of $12.925 million was a mere drop in the ocean compared to the Fairfield Local Government area in western Sydney, which saw a massive $225,493,169.00 in profit, generated from 3281 gaming machines in 17 clubs.

Of the 1019 licensed clubs in NSW with poker machines, based on profit, The Grafton District Services Club with its 128 gaming machines was ranked 119th, the Yamba Bowling Club which has 74 machines was ranked 190th, the Maclean Bowling Club and its 49 machines was ranked 270th, the 61 machines in South Grafton District Servicemen’s Club saw it ranked 356th, the Yamba Golf and Country Club with 47 machines ranked 398th, the Iluka Bowling Club and its 41 machines ranked 498th, the Wooli Bowling and Recreation Clubs 28 machines saw it ranked 604th, Brooms Head Bowling Club with 12 machines was ranked 694th, Grafton District Golf Club with 12 machines was 749th, Iluka Golf Club was 875th with its 8 machines and the Maclean Golf Club with its 5 machines was 1019th.

Over the same period, 211 gaming machines in 18 hotels across the Clarence Valley Local Government area recorded a profit of $7,659,248.00.

The City of Sydney Local Government Area, with 159 hotels and 3021 gaming machines, generated the largest profit for hotels of any LGA in NSW, earning $176,805,287.00.

Based on profit, the Grafton Hotel with its 20 gaming machines made the most profit of any hotel in the Clarence Valley LGA between July 1 and December 31, 2022, which saw it ranked 492 out of 1202 hotels in NSW, followed by Grafton’s Clocktower Hotel ranked 686 with 18 machines, South Grafton’s Good Intent Hotel with 20 machines ranked 694, Yamba Shores Tavern and its 20 machines was 730, the Village Green Hotel Grafton with 15 machines was 759, Grafton’s Crown Hotel and its 11 machines was 798, the Maclean Hotel with nine machines was 819, Sedgers Reef Hotel Iluka’s 15 machines saw it ranked 860, Yamba’s Pacific Hotel with 19 machines was 865, the Harwood Hotel with 1 machine was 1,112 and the Brushgrove Hotel with four machine was 1,117.

Wesley Mission CEO Stuart Cameron said gamblers emerged from lockdowns with weeks and months of built-up demand to play gaming machines.

Despite people struggling financially, Mr Cameron said they were gambling to hopefully pay rent and buy groceries with the winnings.

“The predatory pokies industry is positioned in every town and suburb to take advantage of people who may be vulnerable,” he said.  

In response to these profit figures, some NSW MP’s have said the latest gambling profit results were a mandate for cashless gaming to be introduced.

The Minns Labor Government has committed to a 12-month trial of cashless gaming cards for 500 poker machines from July 1.

Collectively NSW Clubs have 86,568 poker machines which saw $2.18 billion lost in the third quarter of 2022, with daily losses of $23.7 million in NSW.