‘Clubs rely on pokies

MORE Clarence Valley residents have come forward to express concern about Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie’s proposal to introduce gambling limits on poker machine users.

Maclean resident Ken Crampton believes the proposed legislation is “one-sided” and will cost the club industry an awful lot of money.

“In one way it would be nice to stop people losing all their money, but I don’t think this is the way to go about it,” he said.

“There has got to be better ways of doing it – a middle line, so to speak – whether that’s education or self-regulation.”

However, Mr Crampton does believe the targeting of children by clubs has got to stop.

He said while visiting a major leagues club in Sydney last month he was disgusted to see children walking around the children’s area with cups full of tokens looking to play what he referred to as “child gambling machines”.

Mr Crampton said although the children did not win money, they could exchange their winning tokens for fluffy toys.

The Daily Examiner was also approached by Ian Wills, secretary manager of Maclean Bowling Club.

Mr Wills said he had worked in the NSW club industry for more than 20 years and felt compelled to speak out on the matter.

“The club industry is now confronted by one of the most potentially damaging issues since registered clubs first began,” he said.

“Clubs provide a range of services to the community and, unlike hotels, the facilities are owned by the community and all profits are returned to the community.

“In this region especially, there would be few people who have not used or benefited from the facilities or services provided by their local club.”

Mr Wills said clubs had become good at adapting to change but remained largely dependent on poker machine revenue for a significant part of their income.

He said clubs had several strategies in place to assist problem gamblers, adding that no definitive study had ever shown the Government’s plan was effective in reducing problem gambling.

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