Misleading the public

The article entitled Pokie revenue on the rise published in the Advocate last week, was both inaccurate and misleading. 

The assertion that “$306 million was spent across the Great Lakes on poker machines between 2014 and 2015” is entirely false.

The estimated expenditure on poker machines in the Great Lakes local government area in 2014-15 was $23,642,180.10 – about $282 million shy of the claim made in Rebecca Casson’s article!

If $306 million had been spent on poker machines in the Great Lakes LGA, it would mean every man, woman and child in the region had poured $8333 into gaming machines in a 12 month period. As I’m sure you’d agree it is a ridiculous suggestion. 

The $306 million figure referred to in the piece is the poker machine turnover figure. This is different from expenditure.

Turnover figures represent both the actual money players invest as well as the wins and losses people have while playing a machine but which they never bank. Expenditure refers only to the amount of money actually spent by players on machines.

To suggest turnover equates to expenditure is wrong – and will only serve to mislead the public.

Equally misleading was the reference to the Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club’s poker machine revenue. As the article points out, the club has amalgamated with the St John’s Bowling club in Sydney – and the combined club poker machine revenue for both clubs is just shy of $38 million. What it doesn’t reveal is that only $3 million of that is generated in Tuncurry. Less than 10 per cent  of the overall figure. The Tuncurry figure could have been obtained by making a simple phone call. 

ClubsNSW provided detailed responses to a long list of questions from the reporter and yet we only received scant coverage at the end of the piece. Perhaps our argument was a little too convincing.

ClubsNSW is happy to have a sensible debate on poker machines, but this sort of sensationalist reporting only serves to mislead the public and cause unnecessary alarm.

Anthony Ball,