New data reveals how pokies are damaging NSW communities

New data released by the Greens has revealed just how much money pokie machines in hotels around NSW are stripping away from the community.

The data, which was purchased by NSW Greens MP Justin Field, showed that hotels in the state are far worse than clubs when it comes to the billions of dollars they take from local communities.

The research focused on the last quarter of 2016 and found that in that time alone pokies in clubs and hotels around NSW removed $2 billion from the local community. On average, clubs in NSW have 62 gaming machines while hotels have an average of 15 machines, with the average turnover for both sitting around $217,936. Each club based poker machine took $19,638 away from the community while hotel based machines took $28,358.

The Canterbury-Bankstown and Fairfield areas were the worst for losses per individual, with each area topping $200 million in profits. The total financial loss on the pokies of the Coffs Harbour City Council area in clubs was $9,390,208, and $3,819,728 in hotels, while Clarence Valley experienced a total financial loss of $5,359,528 to machines in clubs and $2,029,966 in hotels.

Mr Field said the Greens have delivered on their promise to purchase data so the community can have a more informed discussion of the harm caused by the pokies across the state.

He said, “The Greens’ first purchase of both hotels and pubs data shows these de facto casinos on neighbourhood street corners are ripping off billions from local people and communities. Despite having enormous losses on pokies, NSW has some of the least transparent access to specific information on specific venues and their impacts on communities.

“NSW, Victoria and Queensland all have similar requirements for the collection of data but only NSW hides the true cost of pokies by making people purchase data and hiding venue-specific data with aggregation and anonymity.

“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.”

Mr Field said earlier this year, the Greens called on NSW Racing Minister Paul Tool in an attempt to end the secrecy and have gaming venues publish their data online for free. To date, this request has not been granted, which Mr Field believes is a sign the government and these venues have something to hide.