Thursday, 28 December 2017

Pokie jobs, jobs,jobs?

Local parliamentarian Adam Brooks left no room for doubt. He confided to The Advocate that Rebecca White’s ”latte-sipping, lefty agenda ... will shut down jobs and will shut down the hospitality industry in the North-West Coast.”

Gosh, the entire hospitality industry?

What is Libs' pokie policy?

The Xmas break couldn’t have come quick enough for the Liberals in Tasmania. Barely three months from an election finds it completely stranded without a  poker machine policy post 2023.

Rebecca White hasn’t just shifted the goalposts. She’s moved grounds.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Pokie reflections

By all accounts Labor’s policy to remove pokies from communities after 2023 was unexpected.

However the risks involved when the gaming monopoly expires has previously been discussed by both parties to the arrangement, the government and Federal Group.

Treasury head Don Challen  told a hearing of the Public Accounts Committee on 16th July 2003 which was looking at a premature extension of the original deal due to expire in 2009:

“I did say to Mr Farrell across the negotiating table a number of times that 'Come 1 January 2009 you don't have a business'.  I put a reasonableness test on the outcomes we get from the negotiations and if I didn't think they were reasonable in the interests of the Tasmanian community I would have kept pushing Mr Farrell until I got him to the point where I thought we had a reasonable outcome.  In the back of his head he knows that legal possibility of the licence coming to an end is there and that is a discipline on him to come to the negotiations with a realistic attitude.”

Quite clearly both parties negotiated the 2003 deed extension with a sunset clause in full knowledge the punch bowl may be removed in 2023. If Federal Group have a risk management strategy there’s little doubt what should be number one on the list.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Will the sky fall in if pokies are removed?

The sky will fall in if pokies are removed from regional Tasmania???

The impending devastation will be obvious from the figures. A close look at say the Braddon electorate, will reveal all, surely? It’s the most regional of the Tasmanian electorate, the most distant from the State’s two casinos and currently home to 730 or 30% of EGMs outside casinos.

Alas the figures fail to give any support for Federal Group’s doomsday predictions.

Treasury modelled the effects of EGM removal for the recent parliamentary inquiry. Unbundling the model and introducing the latest figures for player losses from the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission for venues gives a detailed look at Braddon.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Poker machine apocalypse?

There seems little doubt the fate of poker machines post 2023 will be an issue that will get plenty of coverage during the upcoming State election campaign.

Depite the government assuring the Joint Select Committee into Future Gaming Markets it would be open to recommendations based on evidence, Premier Stansfield and Chief Strategist McQuestin had their minds made up well before the Committee reported.  The government arranged for a Dorothy Dixer on the 11th of September to allow the Treasurer to set out the government’s policy on gaming. If pokies are banned from communities it would have a “devastating effect on pubs and clubs” he told parliament.

Rather than blithely following the dictates of his political overlords the Treasurer should have read a paper prepared by his own department for the Committee.

A close analysis of Treasury’s modelling reveals in the case of regional areas beyond the 50 km reach of casinos where 40% ($42.9 million) of player losses occur, player losses will reduce by 75% ($31.4 million). There will be some migration to casinos and substitution with Keno, in total about 25%. Pubs and clubs will be worse off by $6.4 million, but the $25 million that previously flowed out of towns to Federal Hotels’ Network Gaming will be free to circulate within regional towns.

Currently on average, only 20% of player losses remain with pubs and clubs via net commissions from Network Gaming. The rest flows out of town to Network Gaming. It is well beyond the wit of this writer to figure why the government is so willing to accept the dumb proposition that stopping the haemorrhaging of regional towns will have a devastating effect on those communities. It’s going to be very difficult to convince an electorate growing weary of political lies. 

Regional pubs and clubs will be worse off by only $6.4 million. This is before any changes to their business models to attract some of the extra $25 million circulating in the community rather than being hijacked by Network Gaming.