In response to last week’s citizen journalism piece by Libby Mitchell ‘Pokies Must Go: Opinion,’ we bring you a rebuttal from Kirribilli Club CEO, Tony Jeffcott.  Both opinion pieces are topical to a recent AHA warning that the Poker Machine Harm Reduction Tax Bill will spell an end for pubs and registered clubs.

"Never lose site of the number one principal of our Club industry…all profits from Clubs, go back to the community.

The reality is, the Club industry has for more than 50 years been providing quality facilities, services to the community, funding to local communities, whilst providing a place for a large portion of the general community to meet and socialise.

Yes, there is no denying that Club structures and facilities have been partially supported through income from community-based gaming, money which is also passed back to the community.

Six quick questions:

Q: Where do all the profits from gaming in hotels go?      
Answer: Into the owner’s pockets.

Q: Where were all the calls for poker machines to be removed from society before hotels received poker machines in the 1990’s?
Answer: There were none.

Q: Who is the largest operator of poker machines in Australia?
Answer: Woolworths.  

Q: Do you honestly believe removing poker machines will stop a person with a gambling addiction?
Answer: Any person with an addiction will always find an alterative method to satisfy their addiction. An addict has a problem that needs help.    

Q: Do we remove vehicles from society because some people drive fast or drive in a dangerous manner?
Answer: No

Q: If poker machines were made illegal, would it stop people with a gaming addiction from playing poker machines or finding another form of gambling?
Answer: No (I refer to society’s biggest problem- illegal drugs!)   

Without sounding hypocritical, removing poker machines from hotels that are privately-owned and on every corner or street, and putting support behind our community based assets – Clubs (facilities that put their profits back into the community and provide world-class support programs for problem gamblers), would be a much more effective option for our community than addressing the problem by just removing it, or making it illegal.

Banning items or making items illegal in society, is not the solution. Working together to identify better methods of addressing problems in our society is the only solution."

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The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the opinions of the publisher or employees of TheShout.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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