By Annette Shailer
ClubsAustralia has announced that independent federal member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie’s admission this morning (Nov 24) that his deal with the Prime Minister for a mandatory pre-commitment system will reduce club revenue by up to 40 per cent, translates into a $2.1 billion annual loss for Australia’s 4000 registered clubs.
Speaking to Tasmania’s The Examiner Newspaper, Wilkie described a 40 percent reduction in revenue as 'a good outcome of this reform'.
ClubsAustralia executive director, Anthony Ball, said it is the first time Wilkie or Senator Nick Xenophon has quantified the size of the damage on clubs from forcing Australians to use a finger scanner or similar type of technology when playing poker machines.
“Andrew Wilkie’s admission will have every state and territory treasurer on the phone to Wayne Swan today asking if they will be compensated for the billions of dollars they will lose in state tax if this technology goes ahead.
“Mandatory pre-commitment will create a huge black hole for clubs, hotels, governments and community and sporting groups, and neither Andrew Wilkie nor Nick Xenophon has been honest enough until now to admit it.
“Australia’s 4000 clubs alone have this year paid $1.3 billion in tax to state and territory governments.
“When gaming revenue is slashed by 40 percent, taxpayers will be the ones to suffer. They will either have to make do with reduced services as a result of the tax shortfall, or governments will introduce new taxes to fill their budget black hole.
“Now that Andrew Wilkie has come clean on the damage of his ill-conceived mandatory pre-commitment plan, he needs to admit that a $2.1 billion reduction in club income will cost thousands of jobs, close clubs and dramatically reduce donations to sporting groups and charities.
“Everyone knows this plan to finger print pokie players is destined to fail. Even government MPs have conceded that recreational gamblers will neither jump through Wilkie’s nanny state hoops nor accept the government telling them how much they are allowed to gamble,” Ball said.
“A far more effective policy would be to make pre-commitment voluntarily for the player, which empowers the problem gambler and doesn’t punish the recreational gambler”.