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Mark Parton admits he’s innumerate

By johnboy 22 September 2010 19

Radio personality and sometime political candidate Mark Parton is going in to bat for the casino.

It seems Mark wants to play the pokies without being in a licensed club.

Not that he’s got a gambling problem mind you.

What’s Your opinion?


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Mark Parton admits he’s innumerate
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casino said :

Colourful Sydney Racing Identity suggest there are too many machines in Canberra and that view is supported by editorial in today’s Canberra Times (‘The ACT already has more poker machines per head of population than any Australian state, and the number, per head, is among the top 10 of any polity in the world’. That may be so but why does that matter? To draw an analogy, a restaurant could have double the number of seats than the restaurant across the road but if they are only getting half the number of diners then what good are the extra seats? In Canberra, we have the extra gaming machines but they are not being played. The ACT has the lowest of all the states and territories of gambling expenditure per gambling adult and we are well below the national average. The ACT gaming tax revenue as a percentage of total own-state tax revenue was at 5% in 08/09. That’s the second lowest in Australia behind WA. So when people say we have too many gaming machines why does it matter?

It matters because, in my view, they are a terrible social problem and there number should be reduced every year until they are all gone.

Skidbladnir 1:10 pm 23 Sep 10

casino said :

Colourful Sydney Racing Identity suggest there are too many machines in Canberra and that view is supported by editorial in today’s Canberra Times (‘The ACT already has more poker machines per head of population than any Australian state, and the number, per head, is among the top 10 of any polity in the world’. That may be so but why does that matter?

Yes, currently there are machines going under-used according to the average in the ACT.
Licenses\machines owned by small-scale clubs are drastically underused compared to those owned by MegaClub scale entities and MegaClub groups.
Adding more licenses\machines isn’t an answer, but putting those licenses\machines into the hands of another MegaClub scale entity would result in those same licenses\machines being vastly more intensively used.

As example, the Canberra Racing Club has 14 machines onsite and GGMR of $5340, raking into the Club a bit over $1 per machine per day, and the average ACT Non-MegaClub only receives $38 per machine per day.
In contrast, the average ACT MegaClub makes $108 per machine per day, and Canberra Labor Club receives $165 per machine per day.

(All using public figures from Gaming Contribution returns, a MegaClub being deemed as a Club deriving over 2.5 million in poker machine income per year, and Daily Machine Income = TotalClubGGMR/NumberOfMachines/52weeks/7days)

Canberrans already lost $174,501,658 in FY 08-09, wagering in the vicinity of $1.7billion per year (if ClubsACT publish the correct Return-to-Player figure of $0.90 per dollar). More intensive usage through providing another MegaClub premises in which to gamble would mean more dollars wagered in total across the same number of machines.

Even if Canberra Casino promises to contribute to the community to the extent that the ACT Government can pave the streets with gold and every sports team has an oval of their very own, why should these outcomes be indirectly funded through the social-ill of increased gambling at MegaClubs, instead of more direct methods of support?

casino 12:40 pm 23 Sep 10

Colourful Sydney Racing Identity suggest there are too many machines in Canberra and that view is supported by editorial in today’s Canberra Times (‘The ACT already has more poker machines per head of population than any Australian state, and the number, per head, is among the top 10 of any polity in the world’. That may be so but why does that matter? To draw an analogy, a restaurant could have double the number of seats than the restaurant across the road but if they are only getting half the number of diners then what good are the extra seats? In Canberra, we have the extra gaming machines but they are not being played. The ACT has the lowest of all the states and territories of gambling expenditure per gambling adult and we are well below the national average. The ACT gaming tax revenue as a percentage of total own-state tax revenue was at 5% in 08/09. That’s the second lowest in Australia behind WA. So when people say we have too many gaming machines why does it matter?

Skidbladnir 10:10 am 23 Sep 10

Although I admire Mark’s ability to gloss over flaws in logic.

Pokies are powerful tools, and in the wrong hands are open to abuse.
The casino is not able to use all of the powerful tools in the market, but is subject to restrictions that allows its competitors access to different markets.
Its competitors are also not able to access all of the powerful tools in the market, but have different restrictions as to what they can access, preventing them from using casino games.

Also, I have met one man who has a relationship to the Canberra Casino, he has been nice to me, apparently without any ulterior motive.
Therefore, all casinos are nice and without any ulterior motive, and always will be.

Thats why they’re offering a generous (but one-off) upfront cash incentive on giving them new powers, and requesting Government to spend it on social outcomes.
The condition of taking this cash is that Government will allow the casino to access every tool available in the entire market, while still restricting its competitors access to casino games.
Then, we will be more like Melbourne, and everything will be in balance, and the casino will still be nice.
They make no legally-binding guarantee about the degree of future contributions above minimum required by law.

If the Government would like those social outcomes funded to the same degree in future (since it was dependant on casino’s original generosity and being on-side), they’ll need to support casino operations to the hilt in future.

See, everybody wins!

TL;DR: The Casino is nice, trust them and do as they say. Just don't ask questions about motives or question consequences.

casino said :

Why do you think the ACT Goverment sees it as logical for a casino not to offer poker machines as a gambling option?

1) Because the party presiding in the Cabinet is already jowls deep in their direct pokies revenue, and their ACT Club assets represent 50% of the national ALP asset base.

2) Beyond owning Clubs themselves, the Federal ALP are big recipients of Club income at election time.
“…Labor, across [all of] its branches reaped about $1.056 million in donations from clubs, hotels and Tabcorp in 2008-9.
The majority came from a $600,000 donation from the Canberra Labor Club, which operates four poker machines venues for the ALP…”

3) Even despite the above clearly being a conflict of interests as to industry regulation, allowing both Clubs and Casinos to have operations providing poker machine gaming to the ACT when we’re already an oversupplied market where 98% of the gaming tax revenue comes from the highest possible tax bracket sounds like a really shitty policy idea.
All I can easily see this doing is further stimulating demand and allowing a new entrant at the megaclub-end of the scale, and not actually helping any form of problem gambler.

PS: I have no personal relationship with Clubs\Casinos.
I just got bored once, and it turned out to be successful article.

casino said :

Why do you think the ACT Goverment sees it as logical for a casino not to offer poker machines as a gambling option?

Because Canberra already has too many.

casino 9:12 am 23 Sep 10

Skidbladnir, clubs do a great job and many contribute far more to the community than they have to – no argument from me there.

The Casino is prepared to pay $10,000,000 up front and up to 30% tax on gaming revenue. Any way you look at it, it is a good deal. We also pay an annual licence fee of $750,000. Most of our income comes from interstate or international guests. Locals, like me, tend to go to their local club. Every government report commissioned to look into whether the Casino should have pokies ie Price Waterhouse Report, Coopers Lybrand Report, Allen Consulting Group Report and most recently, the Productivity Commission report, all agree that there should be machines in the Casino.

Why do you think the ACT Goverment sees it as logical for a casino not to offer poker machines as a gambling option?

The last thing we need as a community is more poker machines. Having seen first hand the damage they can do to people and relationships I would be happy to see them all go.

The thing I find interesting is that the ‘problem pokie players’ I have known, almost without exception, have not been interested in other froms of gambling, except for the weekly lotto ticket.

Personally, if I was to indulge in some money losing, I would prefer to do it either at a track or in a casino with no poker machines – can’t stand the nosies they make and have to say they make any venue seem less classy.

cleo 1:32 am 23 Sep 10

Playing the pokies is a mugs game, it would be a different if you could win a percentage back, there are no limits unlike the old days.

Woody Mann-Caruso 8:02 pm 22 Sep 10

Now that’s arguing.

Skidbladnir 5:21 pm 22 Sep 10

casino said :

For a club with around 200 machines, the minimum contribution would be around $350,000. For 200 machines, the Casino is prepared to pay a community contribution (in the form of an up front gaming machine licence fee) of $10,000,000. It would take the club 28 years to equal that.

Greetings and welcome to RiotACT!
I will prepare an better-contructed arugment using further numbers eventually, but have a few quick questions:
1) Why, when the Gaming Contributions are legislated as being calculated based on annual NGMR after-the-fact, and gaming machine taxes are paid monthly after-the fact, would you pay your Community Contribution up front based on a wholly inaccurate guesstimated model?

2) The Club with closest to 200 machines is currently Gungahlin Lakes Golf & Community Club with 195 machines, who had a minimum contribution of $373,071 in FY08-09 (7% NGMR, or 3.89% GGMR if you want to invoke it).
They in fact donate $1,373,533, for a 14.33% return to community as a calculated using NGMR.
This equates to roughly $7043.76 of community return per machine per year, with an average Gross Gaming Machine Revenue to Club of $49,162.

On the other hand, you are offering just over seven years equivalent of their community contribution spending upfront, but if I’m understanding it correctly, intend to pay potentially only minimum 7% NGMR-based return (ie: a smidge less than four cents out of every GGMR dollar (gambled and lost)) to the community in subsequent years to make up for it?

Please, can you clarify any of that further?

2.0 4:14 pm 22 Sep 10

Chop71 said :

Well if the Canberra Labour Club wasn’t making money hand over fist for the Labour party then they would be open to competition and allow the Casino to have poker machines.

Simple as that.

LABOR people, say it with me L-A-B-O-R

casino 3:18 pm 22 Sep 10

P1 says “can’t see a good reason to take pokies from clubs which at least have to give a little money back to the community, and put them in a business who is solely interested in taking money from people through gambling”. A 2005 Ernst & Young study shows the Casino has contibuted up to $347,000,000 to the Canberra community – and this is a net figure. While Canberra clubs do an excellent job, don’t assume that private companies don’t give back their share. Clubs must give 7% minimum community contribution on their net gaming machine revenue. And I know many clubs give more. For a club with around 200 machines, the minimum contribution would be around $350,000. For 200 machines, the Casino is prepared to pay a community contribution (in the form of an up front gaming machine licence fee) of $10,000,000. It would take the club 28 years to equal that. And that is besides the fact that we pay an annual licence fee of around $750,000 and we pay a much hire gaming tax. By the way, we made an initial community contribution of $19,000,000 which went to build the new Play House Theatre and the Canberra Museum among other things.

I think it might be time for Mr Parton to make a disclosure. He recently had an article on his blog about how he had a win on the pokies and was encouraging callers to his program to discuss wins that they had had.

thehutch 12:58 pm 22 Sep 10

I’m not pro-pokies… actually very much against them. But if we are going to have them, the Casino really should have them as long as they comply with the proposed standards which may come into effect under the proposed changes by Wilkie and Xenophon.

Personally I’d like to see no pokies at all or at least a 30%-50% reduction in Pokie numbers across the country… but if there are to be machines, I see no logical argument for the so-called community clubs to have exclusive rights to them in the ACT.

caf 12:01 pm 22 Sep 10

Aye, if the Casinos get poker machines then the clubs should be able to put “club poker” tournaments on.

PM 11:46 am 22 Sep 10

And what about playing poker anywhere I want within the ACT??

Chop71 11:42 am 22 Sep 10

Well if the Canberra Labour Club wasn’t making money hand over fist for the Labour party then they would be open to competition and allow the Casino to have poker machines.

Simple as that.

p1 11:33 am 22 Sep 10

I would suggest that Mark Parton’s gambling is quite different from the average Australian. At least the average Australian in the younger generations. I personally have only the vaguest idea what the hell he is talking about when he says a $10,000 quaddie (some sort of very expensive 4 wheel motorbike), and of my peers who do occasionally gamble, it is in pokies in their local club. I have gambled at the casino exactly once, and that was on a friends 21st birthday.

While I suggest his cynicism re Labor control of pokies is probably valid, I can’t see a good reason to take pokies from clubs which at least have to give a little money back to the community, and put them in a business who is solely interested in taking money from people through gambling.

caf 11:24 am 22 Sep 10

He’s certainly swimming against the prevailing tide, being pro-pokies…

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