A report released this week outlined the Bega Valley’s gambling habits on the region’s club and pub poker machines.
$12.5million spent within six months.
$69,091 a day for the 181 days recorded.
$2877 an hour.
Clubs and hotels do a lot for our region. They are major employers, provide top class sporting facilities, are venues for entertainment and facilitate social gatherings.
They also know that a substantial part of their business is based on pokies revenue. This isn’t news to them. But it’s still a sensitive topic whenever it’s broached.
Yes, a proportion of the pokies revenue is given back to the community through grants schemes and sponsorships. NSW registered clubs can claim a 1.85 per cent tax rebate on their poker machine profits above $1million if they spend the equivalent amount on community projects. It’s good business.
Given the total dropped through the slots, that equates to around $231,000, give or take, put back into the Bega Valley.
A tidy sum for the community groups and sport club recipients, but how does this weigh up against the damage gambling does to families and society as a whole?
On a much grander scale – on an Opera House scale you could say – gambling on horse racing was the even bigger headline this past week.
Horse racing brings millions into the state government’s coffers so there’s no surprise it would bend over backwards to accommodate promotion of the country’s richest race.
Enough has been said already on the influence and alleged bullying by Alan Jones surrounding the government’s decision.
To turn the country’s most iconic building into a billboard for said race got under many people’s noses.
But here’s the thing – the light show was only ever going to be plastered on the sails of the Opera House for no more than 10 minutes
However, due to the widespread outrage and subsequent media coverage on front pages and airwaves everywhere, Racing NSW must’ve been laughing all the way to the bank. The publicity for The Everest reached lofty heights worthy of its name.
No doubt, and perhaps unfortunately given gambling’s societal damage, dollars dropped by punters on this weekend’s race have surely increased as a result.
Perhaps telling, ClubGrants funds may not be provided for problem gambling counselling services.