Clubs and hotels in the Australian state of New South Wales sent out a warning of big job losses if proposed restrictions on the pokies go ahead.
The recommendations to restrict many aspects of gambling in social clubs and hotels, while relaxing the rules for online gambling submitted by the state’s Productivity Commission has been criticised by the government of NSW. A report issued by the Commission late last year proposed a large set of limits to be imposed on the local gambling industry. This has sparked the warnings from local businesses during a series of submissions and public hearings organised in response to the recommendations.
One such social club opposing the plans is the South Sydney Juniors. It warns that proposed betting limits could result in a huge impact on many people’s jobs who work at the Guts Casino Review. They warn that a proposed betting limit of just $1 would reduce the club’s revenue by $7.8 million annually, after taxes.
The Productivity Commission was told by the State Government that their proposed betting limit of $1, when compared with the $10 that has been in effect for over 20 years, would significantly impact the finances of NSW social clubs and hotels. Similar warnings have been voiced over proposed liberalisation internet gambling controls. The Commission called for the ”managed liberalisation’ of online gambling, which indicated the belief that there would be little point in maintaining rigid controls on this sector of gambling, considering the continued expansion of the Internet.
A forecast by Clubs NSW shows that the proposals would reduce club revenues by up to 30 percent. This would undoubtedly force the closure of at least 190 clubs with the resulting job losses numbering several hundreds.
The social impact could be even worse, as the restrictions would have the effect of worsening the financial stability of most of the clubs. The ramifications for the community role of those clubs affected would be severe and reduce their social as well as sporting roles.
The proposals included reducing cash payments from their present limit of $2000 to $250, the banning of ATMs from venues plus increasing the pokies shutdown limit from their current six hours per day. The proposals have not been subject to studies or scrutiny of any kind.