NSW Greens MP Justin Field has called for greater transparency of information following statistics revealing the average number of poker machines in hotels were outperforming those in clubs, despite fewer numbers.
There are about three times the amount of poker machines in clubs than hotels, but poker machines in hotels make an average of 44.4 per cent more money in NSW.
Data purchased from Liquor and Gaming NSW for the last quarter of 2016 revealed six venues across the Goulburn Mulwaree and Palerang region reaped over $52 million. This was collected from just 364 poker machines.
Over $25 million was turned over in hotels in the Queanbeyan-Palerang and Cooma-Monaro regions. Mr Field acknowledged there differences in profits from region to region, but said the average percentage should be of concern for councils.
“When you average it out statewide it is quite stark,” Mr Field said. “What we’ve seen in other states, local councils in particular use those facts drive change in their local community.”
NSW, Victoria and Queensland all have similar requirements for the collection of data. It is only NSW that does not have this information publicly available.
“If there are clubs and pubs doing the wrong thing by the community and having a disproportionate impact on people and communities, then we should have the right to hold them to account,” he said.
“It is in the public interest. It shows the government is far more interested in protecting the club industry than the community of NSW.”
A spokesperson for Anglicare, which provides diverse gambling counselling and support, said the unrestricted spending enabled on poker machines would drive addiction in problem gamblers.
“Gambling is a nationwide problem affecting families across both metro and regional areas,” the spokesperson said.
“Where there are more poker machines there is more likelihood for addiction and with the growth of online gambling, this will only intensify the problem.
“Australians have a massive problem with poker machine gambling with more machines per capita than almost any other country in the world.”