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Your money to prop up the Labor party [With Poll]

By johnboy - 3 June 2011 36

The Canberra Times has a story on plans by the Labor Government to pay licenced clubs (of which the Labor party owns four with some skin in the game at two more) around $30 million to cover the costs of the Andrew Wilkie poker reforms.

The Canberra Labor Club group, which operates nearly 10 per cent of the city’s poker machines, could stand to benefit by up to $3million in cash or tax breaks as the ACT Government looks for Commonwealth backing to provide local clubs with a $30million soft landing.

Canberra’s pokies industry says that the Government ministers are in an untenable position, acting as regulators for the pokies trade while their party benefits from the proceeds of gambling.

Gaming Minister Andrew Barr has said that it would cost $25 million to retrofit or replace Canberra’s gambling machines with the new technology and up to $6 million to install a central monitoring capability and that the capital’s clubs could not afford to shoulder the expense without government help.

But the minister says the ACT Government will expect Commonwealth support for the cost of compensating the territory’s clubs for the massive expenditure.

And this way the clubs’ massive contributions to the re-election of the Labor party can continue uninterrupted.

Taxpayer support of pokie parlours

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36 Responses to
Your money to prop up the Labor party [With Poll]
creative_canberran 6:26 pm 03 Jun 11

Nice to see the ACT Labor Government are just as corrupt as the recently routed NSW and Victorian counterparts. Pity the alternatives are so dire. Libs who can’t spell their own MLA’s names nor write policy or The Greens who at the first chance will outlaw cars and rename the ACT “New Cuba”.

As for the clubs, stuff them. If they can’t turn a profit from things other than gambling, too bad. Plenty of other places to get cheap, nasty meals and crappy entertainment.

p1 2:55 pm 03 Jun 11

dungfungus said :

No matter what way you look at it, there is something obscene about a political party owning a “community” club that preys on people with a terrible gambling addiction. Imagine the fuss there would be if, say, the Liberal Party started “The Liberal Club” with the aim of raising campaign money through alcohol sales and gaming.

They probably should start such a club. Ironically though, if both major parties owned large dens of gambling, drinking and sin Community based clubs, then all the clubs would loose some of the motivation to donate to the politicians, since they would know that someone has an interest in pokies no matter who gets in.

The Frots 2:35 pm 03 Jun 11

Whats the difference between a politician and a flathead? Ones a scum sucking , bottom dweller…………………………and the other is a fish!

Deref 2:33 pm 03 Jun 11

There’s a word for this: corruption.

dungfungus 2:11 pm 03 Jun 11

No matter what way you look at it, there is something obscene about a political party owning a “community” club that preys on people with a terrible gambling addiction. Imagine the fuss there would be if, say, the Liberal Party started “The Liberal Club” with the aim of raising campaign money through alcohol sales and gaming. Also, this nonsense that the clubs are claiming that poker machines subsidise member’s meals is nonsense. Most catering in the large clubs is outsourced now and this is why it is expensive, generally bland and tasteless. There was a time when community clubs functioned without poker machines and it would be great to return to those times.

neanderthalsis 11:26 am 03 Jun 11

Not a bad deal for the Labor/tradies clubs, they’re getting a nice little return on the $500 000 odd that they donate annually to ACT Labor. Now if only their pokies machines paid the same sort of returns…

willo 10:33 am 03 Jun 11

no taxpayer’s money was given to canberra’s smaller venues that could not afford the licence hike last year after the new laws were introduced, therefore no taxpayer’s money should be given to clubs when these new laws are introduced
sink or swim……..same attitude as was taken last year i reckon…….

Skidbladnir 10:32 am 03 Jun 11

Short of doing a sector-level Revenue vs Costs analysis with outlet-level granularity or a systemic audit, you’re not going to see total accuracy in information.
If you in any way wanted to reduce the number of poker machines in use, surely you would actually push for clubs to recover their own costs on a user-pays basis, or dip into their 24% ‘net revenue’ deductible, which adds up to about $40mil per year.
The entire point of giving them that $40mil deduction is so that they can maintain their poker machine operations.

NGMR [as in the bit the 'Community benefit' contributions come from], as defined in the legislation, is calculated as follows:
Gross Gaming Machine Revenue (GGMR) derived by the licensee, less:
a) any amount of gaming machine tax payable on the GGMR; and
b) 24% of GGMR.
GGMR is the total of all moneys inserted into machines less winnings to players and approved amounts set aside for the payment of linked jackpots. The 24% deduction is recognition of the expenses a licensee incurs in gaming machine operations.

Source: Page 1, Community Contributions made by Gaming Machine Licensees 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, ACT Gambling and Racing Commission, October 2010

But for reference, giving a $30 million handout to the entire Gaming sector with no strings attached is equivalent to giving them a one-year tax exemption.

Its terrible policy to keep increasing the tax burden on your entire population (including your precious working families…) because you want to give tax breaks to the end of town already with the deepest pockets.

Remind me again Mr Barr, why did we allow the Labor Club Group to own the Labor Party the Labor Party to have an associated entity in the Gaming sector?

Chop71 10:29 am 03 Jun 11

I love that song by The Whitlams

The Frots 10:20 am 03 Jun 11

NO…………………………NO…………………………..NO!

Mysteryman 10:15 am 03 Jun 11

Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for businesses who can’t afford to comply with legislation changes.

Thumper 10:11 am 03 Jun 11

Of course, this will all be revealled by the ALP to Andrew Wilkie.

Surely?

Calamity 10:11 am 03 Jun 11

qbngeek said :

Really Andrew? Honestly? You really expect us to believe that the clubs can’t cough up $30 million in total between them? I reckon the aggressive taking over of smaller clubs has cost them more than $30 million and everytime I walk into any of the clubs in Canberra they seem to be spending money on doing the joint up.

Before we give them any money, lets see honest independent figures of what they pull out of pokies each year. If they can recoup thier costs within 5 years then they don’t deserve a cent. Having worked in several small businesses and owning my own I can tell you that I have always planned for a major investment to be paid off in 5 years. I know many business owners who work on 7 or 10 year plans and finance the investment accordingly.

+1

qbngeek 9:47 am 03 Jun 11

Really Andrew? Honestly? You really expect us to believe that the clubs can’t cough up $30 million in total between them? I reckon the aggressive taking over of smaller clubs has cost them more than $30 million and everytime I walk into any of the clubs in Canberra they seem to be spending money on doing the joint up.

Before we give them any money, lets see honest independent figures of what they pull out of pokies each year. If they can recoup thier costs within 5 years then they don’t deserve a cent. Having worked in several small businesses and owning my own I can tell you that I have always planned for a major investment to be paid off in 5 years. I know many business owners who work on 7 or 10 year plans and finance the investment accordingly.

p1 9:46 am 03 Jun 11

If it costs so much to up grade the machines to be compliant that is isn’t worth it, why don’t they just rip them out and go without?

Surely the clubs can finance the upgrade with loans against the huge income stream they will get from the upgraded machines?

Ohhh, wait, they already have financial commitments against that income stream. So now they are in a position where they can’t afford to upgrade to a standard where they will get the gaming revenue, and they also can’t afford to go without the gaming revenue.

Hell of a way to run a business, especially when a big chunk of you income comes from something as heavily regulated and politically variable as gambling machines.

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