Removing pokies from pubs and clubs a step towards normality
Australia has three quarters (76%) of the world’s “pub and club” poker machines.
A new report [See full report in PDF below] from The Australia Institute Tasmania finds that Australia’s 187,000 pub and club poker machines represent 76% of the world’s poker machines outside of casinos and other dedicated venues.
The report comes as the Tasmanian Labor Party announced a new policy to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs in the state by 2023.
The poker machine monopoly in Tasmanian is being reviewed by the state government. Western Australia restricts poker machines to the casino, and Tasmania may follow if it adopts an Anglicare proposal.
“Tasmania has more pokies than India, Italy and the Netherlands combined, most countries, 226 out of 238, do not have any poker machines in pubs and clubs,” Director of The Australia Institute Tasmania, Leanne Minshull said.
“Tasmanian Labor’s policy of getting Poker machines out of Tasmania’s pubs and clubs is not a radical step but a step towards a global norm.
“If Tasmania joined WA in banning pub and club poker machines, they would be following the vast majority of the world’s countries,” Minshull said.
“Australia has 0.3% of the world’s population but 6% of its conventional gaming machines and 18% of its poker machines,” report co-author Bill Browne says.
“Only 241,000 of the world’s poker machines are outside of dedicated gaming venues – of which 183,000 are in Australian pubs and clubs. Australia has over 75% of the world’s pub and club poker machines”.
“In terms of machines per person, Australia is right up there with casino-states like Monaco, Macau and Caribbean Island nations.”
“Australia’s large number of poker machines and our unusual decision to allow them in pubs and clubs make us a global anomaly,” Bill Brown said.
The report uses data from the World Count of Gaming Machines, a survey commissioned by the gaming technology peak body, the Gaming Technologies Association.
“Other gambling games can also be risky, but poker machines are high-intensity, putting people at risk of losing hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour.”
“We talk about the ‘Western Australian Model’ of keeping pokies out of pubs and clubs, but WA is consistent with global practice”, Mr Browne says.