Clubs across Australia are fighting tooth-and-nail against Andrew Wilkie’s pokie reform – and just about any other type of gambling reform. While most clubs have explicitly stated their stances against mandatory precommitment, one club has decided to go the opposite route by simply become less dependent on revenue generated by poker machines.
Rooty Hill RSL, one of the biggest RSL clubs in Australia, decided to change its direction in 2005. Around that time, the club’s operators discovered that over 70% of its revenue was being generated by pokies and they decided that things needed to change. Since 2005, the club generates 10% less revenue from pokies and the club’s operators hope to bring to bring it down another 10% over the next five years.
If more clubs become less reliant on revenue generated by poker machines, they can work together with politicians to form an effective strategy to combat problem gambling. Instead, clubs – and, therefore, community organizations – rely heavily on gambling revenue and do not have to see things change.
Richard Errington, CEO of the Rooty Hill, believes that those arguing against poker machine reform are not doing anything to help gambling addiction rates in the country. With the sharp increase of problem gamblers in the country, Errington believes that something productive needs to be done.