Once again the annual loss figures on poker machines have come out and the usual anti-groups preach various figures as to grave amounts lost.
Almost $16 million is not a small figure but it is time someone put up valid reasons for the losses and most importantly, the benefits of gaming machines.
Your article states that the losses are domestic and not from the visitors to the shire.
I would like to know how this decision has been arrived at.
I was treasurer of the Wonthaggi Club for 20 years and during that time when we were applying for more machines I went through our sign-in books for a 12 month period.
I, like a number of board members, was surprised to see that 58 per cent of people signed in used a postcode outside the Bass Coast Shire.
This left 42 per cent of players living in the shire or normal club members.
I would venture to suggest that these figures would be similar for the other shire-based clubs.
Now for the benefits of poker machines: In the shire, there would be 180 to 200 employed because of gaming machines, bistro staff, cooks/chefs, bar staff and administration staff.
Wages paid to these people would have to be in excess of $3 million.
They all live locally, have mortgages to pay, school fees and general living costs – all spent in the shire.
How many of these staff would be on benefits if it were not for gaming machines?
I can punt on the horses daily for any amount or back football teams but never are there committees set up to investigate losses in these forms of gambling.
It is interesting that the paper article compares selectively 2015 results against 2014 and 2013, years which show a modest increase of just under $800,000 this year to last year.
However, if you go back and compare 2009 figure it was $2.1 million down on this year’s figure; 2010 down $1.2 million; 2011 down $3.1 million and 2012 down $3.2 million.
Most clubs now have bistro facilities and people regularly dine out at least once a week to a good quality meal at a reasonable price because it is subsidised to a large extent by gaming machines. Without them, this would not be possible.
The clubs all provide substantial contributions to the community, like the lights at the local football oval ($30,000).
We then move on to community donations from organisations like the Won Fund which alone has donated in excess of $200,000 to local causes from $25 up.
I just find it so annoying that people can write like what was in the Sentinel-Times and yet they cannot provide any positive information to present a balanced argument.
You cannot protect people from themselves and if they want to gamble, they will. The ‘do-gooders’ who think they can save the world are kidding themselves.
Murray Oehms, Wonthaggi.