Pokies take ‘average wage’ from Brighton

DETAILED research indicates each poker machine in the Brighton Municipality takes more than $37,000 from the community each year.

In total, the annual losses from poker machines in the Brighton Municipality amount to $2.23 million a year, equivalent to every adult losing $208 with each machine netting  $37,225 approximately the same as the average wage for the municipality.

The information has been developed by Anglicare’s Social Action and Research Centre based on Tasmanian Gaming Commission data, and was released in early March along with a map Poker machines cause harm in your local area that charts the losses in every region of the State.

The map shows the total annual loss and average annual loss per adult on poker machines in hotels and clubs for each local government area in Tasmania for 2014-2015. Almost $200 million was lost to poker machines in Tasmania in 2014-2015, $114 million of which was lost to poker machines in hotels and clubs. The map excludes losses on the 1221 poker machines in the casinos and ferries (an additional approximately $80 million per annum).

In Glenorchy, each poker machine takes an average of $74,496 from the community every year. This is almost twice the average wage for the area.

Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said the data released by Anglicare was deeply disturbing.

“Our Council has long been concerned at the adverse impact of the proliferation of poker machines in our community and particularly their concentration in lower socio-economic areas,” Cr Foster said.

“My concern is not just about problem gambling. It is also about money being bled from local communities and this impacts on families and the community in general.

“Undoubtedly, gambling on poker machines is having significant adverse consequences for Tasmanian families, small businesses and on general economic activity, and the State Government must act to curb this impact.”

Cr Foster said independent polling of 1000 Tasmanians commissioned by the Social Action and Research Centre late last year and conducted by EMRS found that 84 percent of Tasmanians believe that the community has not benefited from having poker machines in local pubs and clubs, and four out of five Tasmanians want poker machines reduced in number or removed entirely from local venues.

“Brighton’s view is that the State Government must heed this community feeling and move to restrict pokies to the two casinos in Hobart and Launceston,” he said.