Profits stemming from pokies machines in NSW have reached staggering levels and now rival the GDP of entire countries. A recent report shows NSW pulled in $6.5 billion during the past 12-months, almost equal to the GDP of Fiji.
The record pokies profits come at a time when the number of venues and machines have fallen. A boom in pubs is largely responsible for the huge surge in profits according to data from Liquor & Gaming. Clubs in NSW raked in an incredible $2,023,995,809 in the six months up to December 2018. NSW pubs made net profits of $1,326,183,421 during the same reporting period.
These astronomical profits come at a time when NSW government policies removed 548 pokies from circulation. Some 506 machines were removed from clubs’ gambling floors and 42 more from hotels during the past 12-months. The number of club gaming venues fell by 16 with hotel gaming venues reducing by 74.
One-and-a-half per cent of the state’s total pokies have been removed since June 2017. That equates to 1,350 machines. Profits have, however, increase by 5.5 per cent from the remaining 91,000 machines. Worldwide, only Nevada has more pokies per state, which is incredible when you think about it.
The Liquor & Gaming report named the most profitable pubs and clubs in NSW. Dooleys and Bankstown Sports Club in Lidcombe, and Mounties in Mt. Pritchard are the most profitable club. Cross Roads Hotel in Casula, El Cortez Hotel in Canley Heights, and Markets Hotel in Flemington top the pubs charts.
Justin Field, an independent NSW MP, spoke out about the rising pokies profits, calling it an unhealthy shift.
“The big players are gobbling up family-run pubs and historic live music venues around the state and turning them into effective mini-casinos. The pub barons like Merivale, Solotel and Laundy are using favourable tax benefits for multiple hotel owners to take over more and more pubs, and further grow gambling profits. This increase in gambling losses contrasts with flatlining wages and a generally sluggish economy and suggests the pokies profits for clubs and pubs is coming at the expense of many who can’t afford it and increasing gambling harm in the community.”
Net profits for pubs increased by $154 million since 2017 when there were 107 more pubs and 308 more machines.
Initiatives are in place to continue reducing the number of machines and gambling venues. A spokesperson for ClubsNSW revealed new legislation is about to be introduced by NSW Parliament.
“After years of campaigning by ClubsNSW, legislation will be introduced to the NSW Parliament in the near future, allowing family members to apply to have a loved one banned from a venue if they believe they have a problem with gambling.”
NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the government is taking a tough stance on online gambling advertisings. Dominello said the government is investing $35 million this year to help reduce problem gambling. Over 7,300 gambling addicts are receiving counselling thanks to this scheme.
“We are also taking the lead in cracking down on unlawful online gambling advertising with tough new laws passed by NSW Parliament this week.”
New South Wales has a long history of gambling. The first official horse race in Australia took place in 1810 at Hyde Park in Sydney. Australia’s first lottery occurred in 1881 at the Sydney Cup and the first legal pokies appeared here in 1956.
Fairfield has some of the highest pokies machine revenue in NSW. Six years ago, Fairfield had $123 million more profit than all of the pokies machines in the City of Sydney combined.
The Hunter Region’s Newcastle has more than 3,200 pokies but Central Coast Region has more than 4,600. More than 2.3 per cent of all pokies machines in Australia are based in Central Coat Region.