Two of Broken Hill’s biggest clubs have welcomed the NSW election results and expressed their intention to work with the Labor government on gambling reform.
- The Broken Hill Club supports initiatives such as local sports, domestic violence shelters and charities.
- Labor’s cashless game trial analyzes both metropolitan and rural areas
- Local clubs are working to diversify their revenue streams
In the months leading up to the election, former Prime Minister Dominic Perrotet promised to make all gaming machines in the state cashless within five years, if re-elected, to eradicate problem gambling.
The plan was immediately criticized by the state agency, Clubs NSW, who said enforcing a cashless gaming policy would drastically cut revenue streams.
Legislator Barwon Roy Butler also refused to support the idea of bringing it to the elections, believing it was important for the state government to recognize the difference between metropolitan and local clubs.
Instead, he supported club NSW’s proposal to implement facial recognition and self-exclusion strategies as a more appropriate solution for his voter’s club.
Ward Gator, chief executive of the Barrier Social Democratic Club of Broken Hill, said clubs in the region were particularly concerned that cashless games would follow the path of similar initiatives in Canada if they were implemented. I was.
“2-3 years ago, [Nova Scotia] The introduction of a mandatory cashless gaming system has resulted in a 30-40% reduction in club revenue and profits,” said Gator.
“We were concerned about how this would affect clubs in the region in particular.”
club supports community
Gator’s Gaming Lounge was a regular source of income and helped offset prices in other areas of the club.
He said that the game’s profits could also provide financial support to other regional initiatives and organizations in need, and that if the game’s revenue were gone, there would be no support.
Michael Boland, general manager of the 103-machine Broken Hill Musician’s Club, agrees that clubs around Silver City do a lot for their communities.
“Some clubs say they operate for profit. I would say we operate under a social license,” Borland said.
“The revenue from the game is [Silver City] cinema.
“I’m going to have a doctor’s surgery next to the cinema. [which] Partially fund the doctors who go there. “
He said games still make up the majority of the club’s revenue, but the club is working hard to bring it down. .
“This year, with movie theaters going online, we expect viewership to drop to around 52-54%,” he said.
Labor policy ‘should be thought through’
Broken Hill previously offered a designated problem gambling counseling service through Lifeline, but former Musicians Club staff member Greg Pearce said the service had been non-existent for the past 18 months after the funds ran out. said.
Mr Borland wants to be part of the solution, and many of his staff are working to identify and engage potential problem gamblers at venues to ensure they get the help they need. have received training from
But given the current reliance on machines, local clubs are much more amenable to Labor’s proposal to try cashless games on 500 machines over the next 12 months, he said. .
“That way, we can give the industry and the reforms a much needed review, so we know where to go, what works, and what we can do to keep people safe and the industry to survive.” He said.
“I think we’re moving towards cashless gaming. I think the market will dictate that going forward, but obviously we need to roll it out right.”
An independent panel of law enforcement, medical and gambling experts oversees labor trials.
Mr Gator said he also hoped representatives from the Australian Hotel Association and Clubs NSW and state gambling welfare organisations, would be involved in the decision-making process to ensure all stakeholders had a say. .
“From my point of view, as long as we are in a position to support these organizations and communities, cashless games may or may not appear,” said Gator.
“Now everyone is talking, [so] Hit the iron while it’s hot, run the tests, get the results and see what the impact is in NSW. “
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-03-29/far-west-clubs-support-collaborative-approach-to-cashless-gaming/102155812 Far West NSW clubs support collaborative and considered approach to cashless gaming