CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
With the issue of problem gambling at the centre of the NSW election, it appears that the pro-pokie machine lobby groups are really struggling under the mildest political pressure.
Not since the days of the anti-alcohol temperance league have these major hospitality groups ever been presented with any form of pushback against their mission to rob the working class of every dollar they have.
The biggest lobby group of them all, ClubsNSW has never once faced a battle this big – as both major parties head to the ballot with plans to overhaul their predatory pokie machine rorts in the face of a cost-of-living crisis.
Liquor and Gaming NSW quarterly figures show that people across NSW lost $2.4 million more a day to the highly addictive and completely unregulated poker machines, with the vast majority of them housed in ‘member clubs’.
Daily profits from poker machines have hit $23 million a day on the 86,568 poker machines in NSW, with gambler losses rising 11 per cent last year.
As an allegedly ‘community-oriented’ organisation, ClubsNSW are struggling to roll out the ‘personal responsibility’ argument when it comes to these machines that leave millions of kids eating homebrand cornflakes for dinner while their parents descend ever closer to killing themselves out of shame, because these ‘member clubs’ are supposed to support families like that.
One argument they do make is that these clubs should be able to regulate themselves. Which they apparently haven’t been doing up until this point?.
As weird as this uniquely Sydney socio-economic issue is, one of the biggest questions that has not been answered is where these clubs spend the blood money they accrue through this awful system of synthetic dopamine hits that have been tapered to emulate the exact physiological reward systems targeted by Class A narcotics.
How often can you renovate a bistro? Surely no more than once every 18 months. How much does the beverage manager spend on hair gel? There can’t be one job at the local RSL that could justify a million dollar salary.
With returned servicemen now actively avoiding these clubs due to the gambling culture, what is the money being spent on?
While the Leagues Clubs will try and claim that these funds are redistributed into grassroots sport, the questions remain. Why does a can of beer cost $7 dollars at footy oval canteens around the country. Why do parents have to still shell out hundreds for boots, insurance and transport? Shouldn’t the Leagues Clubs be covering that with all the money they tore out of Nanna’s purse through their thousands of addictive computer screens?
There are no magnates or owners, so where is the money going? It’s not going into the community. Is it a property play? Do the diggers get their rent paid for? Are ex-footballers being provided medical services? How much is the greenskeeper making? Has anything good actually come from this bizarre racket?
Where is the money going? What do these clubs spend eight billion three hundred and ninety-five million dollars on a year?