Broken Hill Clubs throw support behind Labor’s approach to reform

April 4, 2023
Aleney De Winter

The recent NSW election outcome has been welcomed by two of the largest clubs in Broken Hill, who have expressed their intention to collaborate with the Labor government on gambling reform.

The clubs have been supporting local sport, domestic violence shelters, and charity initiatives. The Labor government’s cashless gaming trial will analyze both metropolitan and regional areas, and local clubs are working towards diversifying their revenue streams.

Speaking to the ABC, Ward Gaiter, the Chief Executive of Broken Hill’s Barrier Social Democratic Club, expressed concern that regional clubs might suffer the same fate as Canadian clubs, where a mandatory cashless gaming system in Nova Scotia resulted in a 30 to 40 percent drop in revenue and profit. Gaming lounges in regional clubs are a significant source of regular income and help offset prices in other areas of the club. The profits also allow regional clubs to provide financial support to other local initiatives and organisations in need.

General Manager of the Broken Hill Musician’s Club, Michael Boland, agreed that the clubs around Silver City add a lot to the community, adding that gaming revenue had helped save the Silver City cinema and that a doctor’s surgery would be going in next to the cinema, partly funded by the club.

However, he also mentioned that the club was working hard to decrease its reliance on gaming revenue, and takings are down from 80 percent about 10 years ago to less than 60 percent. Boland hopes that the revenue from gaming will reduce to under 54 percent with the cinema coming online this year.

Despite the reliance of local regional clubs on gaming machines for revenue, they say they want to be part of the solution. Mr Boland says that many of his staff are already trained to identify and engage with potential problem gamblers to ensure they get help if needed.

Both clubs are amenable to Labor’s proposition of trialing cashless gaming across 500 machines over the next 12 months to give the industry and the reform the review it needs, so they know what will work to keep people safe while ensuring the industry’s survival.

The Musician’s Club. Image: Facebook

Tags

Barrier Social Democratic Club, Broken Hill, Broken Hill Musician's Club Labor, Cashless trial


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