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The billion dollar pokie turnover

By johnboy 21 November 2011 38

poker machines

The Greens’ Shane Rattenbury is drawing attention to just how much money goes through the pokies.

An Assembly Committee has heard that $178.9 million was lost on ACT pokies in the past financial year with more than a billion dollars cycling through the machines.

Media reports last week put the figure at $100 million, but following questioning from ACT Greens MLA, Shane Rattenbury, the ACT Gambling and Racing Commissioner confirmed that the actual figure was 80% higher.

“This is huge amount of money to lose through gaming machines in a twelve month period and should cause us all to stop and reflect,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“This means that around five hundred dollars was lost for every man, woman and child living in the ACT.

“We also know that much of those losses are attributable to problem gamblers, whose lives and families are being destroyed by their addiction.

Bear that in mind the next time Clubs ACT run a TV ad on how much they give to their chosen friends in the community.

[Photo by Dennis CC BY]

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The billion dollar pokie turnover
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shadow boxer 3:53 pm 29 Nov 11

davo101 said :

davo101 said :

Turnover= $200.

I should point out that turnover will only be exactly $200 for the magic gaming machine that keeps giving you exactly 90% of your money back. With a real machine it will vary depending on how you go. If you bet $4 on each spin it is quite likely that all of your money will go in 5 spins and the turnover will only be $20. At the other extreme, you win the jackpot with your first go and end up with a turnover of tens of thousands of dollars. Over a large enough sample (ie: a whole year for all of the machines in Canberra) the turnover will be 10 times the loss.

As to outlay all we know is that it has to be at least $180 million a year (otherwise the machines are creating money).

Yeh that’s what I mean, people quoting turnover is a bit misleading as they are largely the same dollars going back in over and over.

The measure of losses is a legitimate one though.

davo101 4:18 pm 28 Nov 11

davo101 said :

Turnover= $200.

I should point out that turnover will only be exactly $200 for the magic gaming machine that keeps giving you exactly 90% of your money back. With a real machine it will vary depending on how you go. If you bet $4 on each spin it is quite likely that all of your money will go in 5 spins and the turnover will only be $20. At the other extreme, you win the jackpot with your first go and end up with a turnover of tens of thousands of dollars. Over a large enough sample (ie: a whole year for all of the machines in Canberra) the turnover will be 10 times the loss.

As to outlay all we know is that it has to be at least $180 million a year (otherwise the machines are creating money).

shirty_bear 4:07 pm 28 Nov 11

Gungahlin Al said :

Take a leaf out of the new tobacco plain packaging laws.
No pretty blinking mesmerising lights and pictures, bells and noises.
Khaki box, the symbols are pictures of your family, house, car, school shoes, food, etc (picked up off your gambler’s ID smartcard) to remind you of what is at risk every time you press the stupid button.

I got 5 Bata Scouts!! WOO HOO!!!

davo101 3:32 pm 28 Nov 11

shadow boxer said :

Anyone buying that theory ?

Not really. It’s a question of definitions. In your example:

Loss = $20
Outlay= $20
Turnover= $200.

shadow boxer 3:20 pm 28 Nov 11

I was thinking about this,

While the losses are correct the turnover figure is probably misleading. i.e. if I go to the club and put $20 in the pokies I would theoretically get $18 back, I then reinvest that $18 and get about $16 back and so on until I lose it all or take the money out..

This means while I lost $20 I have re-invested the same dollar many times over and my turnover on that $20 would be almost $200. i.e. the turnover dollar amount is not all new money and whilt it looks like I gambled $200 I really only ever risked my $20 stake.

Anyone buying that theory ?

djk 10:38 am 24 Nov 11

Gungahlin Al said :

Take a leaf out of the new tobacco plain packaging laws.
No pretty blinking mesmerising lights and pictures, bells and noises.
Khaki box, the symbols are pictures of your family, house, car, school shoes, food, etc (picked up off your gambler’s ID smartcard) to remind you of what is at risk every time you press the stupid button.

Hahaha, love it!

Gungahlin Al 9:36 am 23 Nov 11

Take a leaf out of the new tobacco plain packaging laws.
No pretty blinking mesmerising lights and pictures, bells and noises.
Khaki box, the symbols are pictures of your family, house, car, school shoes, food, etc (picked up off your gambler’s ID smartcard) to remind you of what is at risk every time you press the stupid button.

p1 10:11 pm 22 Nov 11

wooster said :

Personal responsibility anyone?

I support this approach so long as we can legalize pot and remove speed limits at the same time.

p1 10:09 pm 22 Nov 11

merlin bodega said :

If pokies are really just intended as a harmless way to fund community services then why can’t we give them to community organisations directly so that we can all have a punt when say we are visiting old people in homes or watching the kids play footy on Saturday morning. Makes a lot of sense and saves all this middle man rubbish. We won’t need to go to these poxy clubs at all. Couple of card machines int the school canteen makes perfect sense.

There are lots of things I think I would do with pokies if I was king. Basically I think plans should be put in place to gradually reduce the number of them, and reduce their profitability until they return to being just a novalty item some clubs have in the corner, rather then something every club has to have.

Baring that, giving them to the community groups directly is a pretty good idea. Salvo’s could take the money from the machines and use it to support problem gamblers….

cranky 10:05 pm 22 Nov 11

wooster said :

Personal responsibility anyone?

Thoroughly agree.

But I’m certain that there has been an enormous effort made to design the operation of these wretched things to attract and retain punters. Flashing lights, ‘music’, features, multiple bets etc are all designed to keep a punter in front of the thing, and feeding in dollars.

Personal responsibility takes a hiding when up against the deliberate psychological manipulation of the punter.

Angelina 10:00 pm 22 Nov 11

wooster said :

Personal responsibility anyone?

This from someone who is telling people to ‘just relax’ about thieving school-leavers committing acts of vandalism and animal flaggery.

wooster 9:38 pm 22 Nov 11

Personal responsibility anyone?

Martlark 8:53 pm 22 Nov 11

How about $178 million was spent by ACT citizens enjoying themselves at local clubs last year? I lost everything I spent on food, drink, movies, gym, games and pets last year. But I did enjoy them.

merlin bodega 6:56 pm 22 Nov 11

If pokies are really just intended as a harmless way to fund community services then why can’t we give them to community organisations directly so that we can all have a punt when say we are visiting old people in homes or watching the kids play footy on Saturday morning. Makes a lot of sense and saves all this middle man rubbish. We won’t need to go to these poxy clubs at all. Couple of card machines int the school canteen makes perfect sense.

davo101 5:09 pm 22 Nov 11

There are about 126 500 households in Canberra. If we’re putting $1.8 billion through the pokies every year that’s an average of $272 per household per week. Given a 90% return it still means the average household is losing $27 a week on the pokies.

OK, now it starts to get a bit weird when you take into account that only 38% of people claim to use gaming machines. Assume that these people are spread out and that this means that 38% of households participate in using pokies. The average amount of money put through the pokies in these households would be $718 a week and an average loss of $72 a week or $3750 a year.

It gets really freaky when you take into account that according to the Productivity Commission 40% of the loss is contributed by 5% of the players. Assuming that these players are evenly distributed this is 2% of households. The average loss in these households would be $30 000 a year.

Skidbladnir 10:44 am 22 Nov 11

This is all public information, there’s a decade of spreadsheets easily available. I could probably take the data and turn it into an archivable 3NF for online querying, but thats the kind of thing GovCo ought be doing to make information usable by experts & curious members of the public.

1) ACT Gaming Machines are a $1.4 – 1.8 billion input industry, with ACT Clubs capturing 10-13% of input.
2) Community contribtions are effecteively regressive due to the Mandatory Contributions model calculating off of post-tax gaming revenue. (Big earners contribute less)
3) Larger clubs (and MegaClub groups) further benefit due to maintenance & construction of sports facilities being a community contribution.
4) Smaller clubs are vastly more generous with contributions (on a percentage basis) than larger clubs.

PS: Have been quite busy these last few years whenever the data comes out, so if someone else wants to do one of these, stop waiting and just do it.

jimbocool 8:58 am 22 Nov 11

The ACT’s State Final Demand (the total of all spending in all sectors of the ACT) is a tick under $12billion – Pokie turnover thus represents 8% of the ACT’s economy (or 15% if you’re following djk’s maths).

Thumper 8:31 am 22 Nov 11

Mumbucks said :

Thumper said :

I’m not for banning things but really, isn’t it time that pokies were seriously cut back? I don’t care if people are dumb enough to keep shoving money into them but it is seriously anti sov=cial and turns people into mindless zombies. Recently we saw Andrew Leigh talking about street parties, may he he could do something about pokies if he really cared.

How about the ACT government bring in legislation that limits establishments to a third of the pokies they have now? In fact, what about a quarter?

How about it Katie? What about you Zed? Want to show some balls?

Didn’t think so…

Just wait till the next e Leigh report!

Except that Andrew is Federal and not Territory.

Then again, maybe the Wilkie crusade will come to fruition.

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