Pokies system to cost $9.6M, say clubs
ClubsNSW has estimated that the installation cost of a mandatory pre-commitment system would cost a total of $9.6 million.
Cost estimates for clubs around the Peninsula range from $270,000 at Hardy's Bay RSL and Citizens Club to $2.82 million at Ettalong Beach War Memorial Club.
Costs for the other clubs are: Club Umina $1.17 million, Woy Woy and District Rugby League Football Club $1.38 million, Ettalong Memorial Bowling Club $1.65 million, Everglades Country Club $1.83 million, and Sporties at Woy Woy $480,000.
Clubs on the Peninsula are currently turning over $25.6 million in poker machine revenue, according to ClubsNSW media relations manager Mr Jeremy Bath.
However, he said: "Poker machine revenue is not profit.
"The clubs still have to pay gaming tax of $5 million, the salaries of 210 staff, utility costs such as electricity and water and support local community and sporting groups as well as pay for food, beverage and a host of other costs and taxes that all small businesses must pay."
Release of the estimates follows a meeting of 41 clubs held at Gosford RSL on Thursday, August 11, which discussed the future of clubs and the flow-on effects from the proposed legislation.
ClubsNSW CEO Mr Anthony Ball said the outlook for clubs on the Peninsula was dire if the Federal Government supported Andrew Wilkie's poker machine proposal.
"When clubs close or dramatically reduce their spending, that decision is felt by local small businesses such as trades people, those in the food supply industry and many others they rely on,'' he said.
Mr Ball said, based on findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, "we know that for every one person employed in a club, another two jobs are created indirectly".
"This mandatory pre-commitment system the Federal Government is supporting will do nothing to help problem gamblers," said Mr Ball.
Independent Member for Denison Mr Andrew Wilkie said most poker machine players won't notice a difference.
"Many are used to carrying loyalty cards similar to pre-commitment cards," he said.
"And the 88 per cent of Australians who gamble $1 or less a spin can play the low intensity machines without a card.
"Three quarters of Australians support these affordable reforms which are consistent with the recommendations of the Federal Productivity Commission.
"The claims that clubs, pubs and casinos will have to fork out huge sums to install pre-commitment on all their machines are simply not true.
"The pokies industry should stop scaring its members and staff about these reforms.
"Mandatory pre-commitment will help problem gamblers without unduly affecting any club that does not have a heavy reliance on problem gamblers," said Mr Wilkie.
If you think you have a gambling problem, call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 060 757.