Communityand sporting clubs across South Australia will be “kicked in the guts” ifproposed changes to gaming laws become a reality, according to Clubs SA.
In the lead-upto the March state election, both SA Best and the Greens have outlined dramaticnew laws for gaming machines – but there’s no true understanding of how muchdamage will be inflicted on not-for-profit clubs and the people they support.
“Peopledon’t realise that clubs exist on a knife edge with 49% in severe financialdistress,” said Clubs SA CEO, Mike Penfold.
“One of thekey changes being proposed, the $1 maximum bet, will cost literally millions ofdollars to implement – money clubs simply don’t have and can’t afford toborrow. Money that simply won’t go backto the community.
“No researchor analysis has been done. No-one knows what will happen and clubs don’t havethe financial capability to overcome any more hurdles.
The Greenshave gone even further, calling for the removal of all gaming machines.
“In reallife, that means that clubs will close. All their positive communitycontributions will evaporate, and people with gambling problems will still have100 ways to gamble.”
Of the 1272licensed clubs in South Australia, 60 have gaming machines. Half of these arein regional areas, and half have 20 or fewer machines.
For example,on the Yorke Peninsula, one local club has six machines; another club in the Riverlandhas seven machines; in Whyalla one has 12 – all supporting their localcommunity.
All SA’s communityand sporting clubs – gaming and non-gaming – are not-for-profit, with allsurplus funds going to support their services, facilities and localcommunities.
“The proposedchanges would just shatter these club’s business model so some will simply haveto close their doors,” Mike said. “That’s not just a possibility. It’s acertainty.
“People willlose their jobs; hundreds of local sporting teams, charities and events willlose sponsorships; sporting and community facilities will shut.
“The impactwill be enormous and unfair, and that’s what people have to understand.”
Clubs SAcompletely understands the concerns about problem gambling and has developedits highly effective Club Safe program to minimise harm.
But there’sno evidence the latest round of restrictions on gaming machines will helpproblem gamblers in any way. In fact, it will send people to other forms ofless regulated gambling such as online gambling.
Instead, theproposals put at very serious risk the employment, enjoyment and lifestyle oftens-of-thousands of South Australians who interact with their localnot-for-profit club.