Revealed: The whopping profit Northern Rivers pokies make
NSW Government figures show, across the Northern Rivers council areas, the 1289 poker machines in 42 venues made a total of $22.3million in profit between December 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, about $5133 per hour.
Northern Rivers pubs made $13million in profit from their 588 pokies between January 1 and June 30, 2018 - about $3032 per hour.
The figures also show Northern Rivers clubs paid $3.2million in pokies tax and pubs $3.1million.
But the profit per hour is far from the highest in the state. Pokies in Fairfield, in Sydney's west, made an average of $40,654 every hour.
Alliance for Gambling Reform director Tim Costello said Australians lost about $14billion every year to pokies.
"NSW is the most gambling-captured jurisdiction in the world with 92,000 poker machines draining almost $7billion a year from gamblers,” Rev Costello said.
"It has the weakest regulations in Australia with $10 maximum bets, exemptions from smoking bans and the farcical capacity for a gambler to load up a maximum of $7500 in cash when playing a machine, something which facilitates money laundering.”
Rev Costello said politicians were not taking gambling harm seriously enough.
"The NSW Coalition has signed another memorandum of understanding with ClubsNSW which will lock in harm and constrain long overdue reform, meaning pokies losses are set to keep rising at the 2600 NSW pokies venues if the Government is re-elected. Labor hasn't committed to any meaningful reforms but at least they haven't signed the MOU,” he said.
NSW Racing Minister Paul Toole did not respond to questions regarding the ClubsNSW memorandum of understanding or the actions the Government was taking towards helping problem gamblers.
A ClubsNSW spokesman said clubs were major employers in regional communities and donated millions to local sports, charities and community groups every year.
"Poker machines are an important source of revenue for clubs, allowing them to provide generous community support,” he said.
"According to the 2015 KPMG Census, NSW registered clubs collectively make a $1.3billion social and $3.7billion economic contribution to the state each year and employ more than 23,000 people in regional NSW.
"There are 37 clubs locally, providing entertainment and affordable dining options to their 102,322 members. These clubs employ 773 locals, pay $5.6million in tax to the NSW Government annually and make a $56.5million economic contribution to the region.
"They also donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to worthy community groups, such as the SES, Veteran's Advocacy Service, Rotary Club and Hope Haven Women's Refuge.”
The spokesman said 0.8per cent of adults in NSW had a gambling problem and the state's clubs had "developed a suite of world's best practice harm-minimisation initiatives through the ClubSAFE program”.
These include a voluntary self-exclusion scheme from multiple clubs and a chaplaincy program in association with the Salvation Army.