Fears over Keno in pubs
By Alex Easton firstname.lastname@example.org
THE extension of Keno from registered clubs to pubs will cut the income of Northern Rivers clubs and impact on club-backed sporting and community organisations, Lismore Workers Club has warned.
But local hoteliers have given the arrival of a new form of gambling for their venues a lukewarm response, with one prominent pub manager saying few hotels were likely to take it up.
Mick Drew, the manager of Lismore's The Standard Hotel and chairman of the Lismore Liquor Accord, said profit margins on Keno were so slender that it adding it would be worthwhile to only the most gaming-reliant pubs.
Mr Drew said only 2 or 3 per cent of total cash turnover from Keno translated into profit.
Goonellabah Tavern manager Adam Berger, who has 25 gaming machines in his venue five fewer than the maximum allowed in a pub in NSW said he was interested in getting Keno in, but did not see it as a%money-spinner.
"It would be looked at like our TAB," he said. "It's not an income centre ... it's just a service to our clientele."
Mr Berger said he got occasional queries from customers wanting to play the game at the pub mostly from Queens-%landers used to Keno being available in their pub at%home.
It might not mean much to the hoteliers, but the move was yesterday lashed by Treasurer Peter Costello, who said gambling profits were made from human tragedy.
Introducing Keno into pubs would eat into the revenues of the region's clubs, according to Lismore Workers Club general manager Steve Bortolin.
"There are certain people who come to clubs because they like to play (Keno)," he said.
Mr Bortolin said gaming accounted for about 60 per cent of the Workers Club's revenue and that money was used to keep the Workers' golf and lawn bowling clubs open, while funding various community and sporting groups.
Ballina RSL Club chairman Bob Grant said pubs and clubs attracted a different clientele. That difference would protect clubs from the advent of Keno in pubs.