Here are some compelling reasons why there are enough pokies in Castlemaine.
LOSS TO CASTLEMAINE ECONOMY
- Pokies divert money from local businesses, negatively impacting jobs and the local economy.
In the year to 2011, loss per poker machine in Victoria was $99,000 (VCGR 2011).This would indicate a loss to the Castlemaine economy of around $6.4 million per year from the 65 new machines.
- Castlemaine’s economy lost $3.4 million in the financial year to 2011 on the existing pokies – up almost $80,000 from the previous year.
- Negative impacts of gambling include reduced levels of regional income and employment (Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre 2010)
- People tend to gamble locally so gambling doesn’t provide a substantial boost to tourism. (KPMG Consulting 2000)
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COST TO THE WHOLE COMMUNITY
- The social cost – that is from factors such as ill health, unemployment and crime – of problem gambling is “at least $4.7 billion dollars a year” (Productivity Commission 2010). This cost is borne by taxpayers.
- Problem gambling increases significantly with increased access to gaming venues. Communities without (or with limited) gaming machines have fewer problem gamblers and experience less of the associated social problems. (Multiple sources cited in Productivity Commission 2010)
- The actions of one problem gambler negatively impact the lives of between five and 10 others. This means there are up to five million Australians who could be affected by problem gambling each year, including friends, family and employers of people with a gambling problem. (Australian Government 2011)
- Issues for children include increased child neglect, poor nutrition and family violence. (Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre 2010)
- 44% of Victorians know at least one person who has or has had a gambling problem. This increases for people from low to middle income households. (Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre 2010)
- The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation found that on balance, pokies cause a ‘net adverse social impact’. (VCGR Report)
- There is a correlation between higher use of pokies and socio-economic disadvantage. (Livingstone 2007)
POKIES ENCOURAGE PROBLEM GAMBLING
- The Productivity Commission (2010) found that poker machines are the most dangerous form of gambling and are responsible for the vast majority of problem gamblers.
- Castlemaine’s local St Vincent de Paul estimates more than one third of the people that come to them for assistance are victims of the impacts of gambling. (Provided by St Vincent de Paul)
- At least 40% of losses on poker machines come from problem gamblers. (Multiple sources cited in Productivity Commission 2010). In Castlemaine, this translates to a current loss from problem gamblers of around $1.4 million per year on the existing 30 poker machines.
POKIES CAUSE CRIME
- Want to live in a safe community? Pokies have been shown to increase crime.
- Poker machines are the second highest cause of crime in the community after the illegal drug trade. (Department of Justice Victoria 2010)
- There is a direct link between increased gaming (pokies) and increased crime. (Department of Justice Victoria 2010)
- Gambling has been shown to provide motivation for stealing by people who are otherwise law abiding and are gainfully employed. (Crofts 2003)
POKIES CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS
- Having trouble getting a doctor’s appointment in Castlemaine? Pokies cause significant health problems for users and their families and put strain on health services.
- Victorian GPs see four times as many gambling addicted patients per capita than GPs in Western Australia where pokies aren’t easily accessible. (provided by Castlemaine Health)
- Problem gamblers experience significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, lung conditions, obesity and other health conditions. (Department of Justice Victoria 2009)
- The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne reported in 2010 that 1 in 5 people who attended its Emergency Department after attempting suicide identified problem gambling as the reason for their suicide attempt.
POKIES ARE BAD FOR COMMUNITY GROUPS
- People who run pokies venues often contribute a small amount of money to community groups. However, this contribution is more than cancelled out by what pokies cost.
- According to the Productivity Commission (2010), the community contributions made by clubs are significantly less than the tax breaks they are given. Clubs can claim as ‘community contributions’ services for the exclusive use of club members – this includes things like the buildings, bars and beer taps.
- The majority of expenditures (on community contributions) have been shown not to benefit the local community. (Livingstone 2007)
- Community effects of gambling include reduced contributions charities and reduced community participation (Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre 2010)
POKIES AREN’T A HARMLESS RECREATIONAL PRODUCT
- The Productivity Commission (2010) reported it was relatively easy to lose up to $1500 an hour playing a standard poker machine. You don’t lose $1500 an hour going to the movies or dinner.
- They are designed to make you lose. Certain features of pokies like isolation, their ‘conditioning impacts’ and the tendency for users to lose contact with reality explain the increased problems with this gambling form. (Productivity Commission 2010)
- Only around 20% of adults play pokies each year (Hare 2009), yet it costs the whole community billions.
POKIES HAVE A NEGATIVE NET IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT
- Most people employed at pokies venues are highly employable and would be in demand in other parts of the service sector. The gambling industries do not create net employment because they divert employment from one part of the economy to the other. (Productivity Commission 2010)
- Income from gambling requires significantly fewer staff than food and beverage sales does. According to the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies, for every $1 million in income gaming facilities employ (on average):
- 3.2 persons for gambling income;
- 8.3 persons for liquor and drink income; and
- 20 persons meal and food income.
- The social and health problems associated with pokies include job loss and lowered work productivity. (Productivity Commission 2010)
THE GOODS SHED IS AN INAPPROPRIATE VENUE IN AN INAPPROPRIATE LOCATION
- It is right next to the train station which is a gateway and hub for the town. The train station is a public facility used by the whole community, including vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied children commuting to school.
- The venue’s scale and location would form a significant part of the initial impression that rail visitors have of the town. It would also be (along with the station and the foundry) the main Castlemaine landmark for commuters travelling between Bendigo and Melbourne.
- It is in a residential area very close to people’s homes and adjacent to a recreational corridor that links the train station, Camp Reserve and the Botanical Gardens and includes the Lions Club park and the walking track along Gingell St. It is an area heavily used by the whole community and in particular by young families.
- There is already insufficient parking in the area to accommodate commuters, shoppers and residents.
- The development is inappropriate in a heritage building in a heritage area with a distinctive heritage street scape.