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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Will pokies colour your vote on Saturday?

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Very few would argue that pokies aren’t evil and the tone of a recent phone survey suggests that voters might be beginning to understand that.

Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith says that residents in the area have been phoned to take part in a survey biased against the Greens which was funded by the NSW Australian Hotel Association.

‘I’ve had a constituent, who is not a Greens member, call my office to complain about how underhanded she thought the phone survey was,’ says Ms Smith. ‘The resident said that they were asked a series of negative questions about articles about the Greens which were published in the Sydney Morning Herald, and did not reveal that the survey was funded by the NSW Australian Hotel Association (AHA) until the very end of the call.’

Ms Smith says the woman concerned said she lodged a complaint with the survey taker and asked why none of the questions concerned the hotel industry or the negative effects of poker machines in hotels.

‘Clearly this is the reason why the NSW AHA is doing this negative polling,’ said Ms Smith. ‘The Greens have a clear gambling policy to cap all poker machine numbers in Ballina and Byron at January 2019 numbers and to phase out poker machine and other electronic gaming machines in clubs and hotels.

‘Figures from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority show NSW poker machine turnover has increased a staggering $11.4 billion since 2013-14.

‘The Ballina community lost a staggering $28,144,860 or $541,247 a week on pokies in 2017. That’s money that could be better spent on families and in the community,’ said Ms Smith.

The NSW AHA was not registered as a third party campaigner at the time the polling was conducted, but after a complaint from the Greens, they joined the register on March 8.

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  1. Is it poker machines that are evil or the tax on them?
    ‘The Ballina community lost a staggering $28,144,860 or $541,247 a week on pokies in 2017. That’s money that could be better spent on families and in the community,’ said Ms Smith.

    However the government took their whopping tax cut and it was significant – In NSW hotels, annual poker machine profits over $200,000 are taxed at 33 per cent up to $1 million. Between $1 million and $5 million the rate is 36 per cent and 50 per cent over $5 million.So that’s 14 million Dollars poker machine players contributed to the government in one small town

    What would gamblers do without poker machines simply move on and find another gambling outlet – Lotto Keno Scratchies, bingo, two up dogs horses boxing footy – my point is you get rid of pokies you shoot yourselves in the foot and put millions out of a job!.

    • Hi Robert, whilst you do seem to have the figures at hand, and you make some valid points, I feel that the money concerned injected back into the community in positive ways is a worthwhile target to aim for.
      I agree, there are other ways to gamble and a good share of pokie addicts may just switch, but these machines do seem to have an attraction and a level of addiction far in excess of other forms of gambling.
      The blatant deliberate design of the things, is to keep the player invested in what is a certain loss by occasionally boosting their adrenaline rush with tones, jingles and flashing lights as well as occasional payouts of what is essentially the player’s own money. The myriad of varying themes designed to lure the victim into believing they have a “favourite” machine firmly place this method of revenue raising for both government and industry alike atop of the pile of evil, anti community, cash gouging gaming methods.
      It cannot be justified by saying things like “they’re going to gamble anyway” or “where will governments get the equivalent revenue”. Priority must be to firstly, remove the offending addictive electronic thieves and secondly consider other justifiable methods of taxation to support the communities which have been, in varying degrees, stripped of assets and dignity by Governments and big industry alike.
      Again, I congratulate the recent decision by the Byron Bay Beach hotel to remove them and challenge other outlets to think outside the square of ripping off their own clients to come up with ideas to keep their businesses profitable.


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