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DIA holds key to gaming future

DIA holds key to gaming future

The number of gaming machines and the level of turnover in the future will be dependent on decisions of the Department of Internal Affairs, not local councils. So says Hospitality Association Chief Executive Bruce Robertson, responding to claims by DIA spokesman Keith Manch that a further drop in gaming machines will depend on individual local authorities’ gaming policies.

Mr Robertson says that a far more important factor will be DIA’s decision on how much venue operators can be reimbursed. The Hospitality Association believes that if the DIA puts limits on the realistic funding of high turnover sites, these sites will reduce opening hours. This could result in a loss of funds to the community and the Government of up to $200 million each year.

DIA’s claims of efficiencies being made are nonsense.

Hotel gaming machines are already more efficient than Lotto or the TAB. The cost of fund raising as a percentage of proceeds after punters have received their winnings is less than 33%. This compares with Lotto at 36% and the TAB at over 43%. Mr Robertson says that if the Department of Internal Affairs was concerned at the level of costs associated with fund raising then they should turn their attention to the least efficient first.

“The operators of gaming machines are entitled to actual, reasonable and necessary expenses - expenses which by comparison with others are already reasonable. Not only are gaming machines the most cost effective means of fund raising, they also provide the greatest percentage payout to the players at around 90%, compared with TAB at 80% and Lotto at 55%,” Mr Robertson points out.

It is simplistic to suggest that it is only the number of machines that defines turnover. Opening hours are just as important and that is influenced by whether the venue operator is sufficiently recompensed for keeping the venue open. That decision is not in the hands of local authorities, but the DIA and Mr Manch, says Bruce Robertson.

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