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Gambling in WA

As Sam Ward pointed out to me in a comment (he has made further points here) it is not true that WA has no gaming machines. They do but they are restricted to the Burswood Casino or to slot machines in pubs that do not dispense coins. Indeed, Premier Carpenter announced yesterday that another 250 machines will be installed at Burswood which should yield the casino an extra $21.9 million per year. The number of machines at the Casino will eventually be 1750. The payment for this increase seems to be a $15 million environmental conservation program funded by Burswood over 5 years plus an increase in the levy on gaming from 1-2%. Sounds like a great deal for James Packer!

According to the WA Government the number of machines in WA is 1 for 1000 of population which is 12X lower than the national average. The level of gambling expenditure relative to income is also claimed to be the lowest in Australia.

According to Australian Gambling Statistics 2006 WA has the lowest per capita expenditure on gambling of any Australian state. In 2004-05 it was $520 per head compared to the national average of $1097. That there is not widespread of availability of pokies has not lead to a substitution towards other forms of gambling. For example total expenditure on horse race betting per head in WA is $145 which is lower than the figure for NSW and Victoria.

This seems to me powerful evidence for restricting the supply of poker machines if you believe they cause social damage. Restricting supply reduces losses overall as people do not substitute alternative forms of gambling and do not seem to search out distant machines. The same point has been mooted in Melbourne and elsewhere and is the basis for restricting the supply of pokies in poorer areas of Melbourne – further restrictions of this type are mooted in today’s Age. People tend not to drive across town to play the pokies – an explanation could be that playing them is partly cue-related – so if they are not around you forget about them or don’t think about playing them. So you can deal with pokie –induced social problems in a particular area of social disadvantage by limiting the supply of pokies in that area.

10 comments to Gambling in WA

  • Sam Ward

    “As Sam Ward pointed out to me in a comment (he has made further points here) it is not true that WA has no gaming machines. They do but they are restricted to the Burswood Casino and are of a particular non-money-jingling type.”

    No, again this is wrong.

    The machines at Burswood do dispense coins. The difference between them and the East Coast machines is the skill required to play.

    The standard slot machines in WA pubs are the ones that do not dispense coins.

  • hc

    Changed. thamks.

  • observa

    The SA picture is summarised here http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,20097597-5006336,00.html
    Saw some figures on the news that total pokie losses have increased from around $500mill to $750mill pa over the last 5 years despite pulling 20% of machines off the market. I can assure you SA isn’t exactly leading the population charge like that.

  • observa

    Off topic sam but remember how I previously argued we needed a broad proscribed chemical use licence?
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,20312500-1246,00.html?from=public_rss
    Welcome to a partial, racially defined one by stealth eh?

  • Sam Ward

    I can’t load that page but I assume it’s about restricting sale of ammonium nitrate to stop presbyterians from making bombs.

    Pretty stupid idea, its not like it’s hard to find fertiliser just laying around if you really want to make a bomb.

    Just break into any suburban garden shed for a start.

  • observa

    sam,
    It was a local SA news item as follows-

    TRAFFICKING in petrol on Aboriginal land in South Australia will now attract a penalty of up to 10 years in jail or a $50,000 fine.

    The new penalties were approved by the South Australian parliament last night and cover the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara land in the state’s north.

    Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jay Weatherill said the new laws sent a clear message that the government believed trafficking in petrol on Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara land was no less serious than trafficking illicit drugs.

    “Petrol sniffing has been a significant problem on (their) lands for many years,” Mr Weatherill said.

    “Its devastating effects on sniffers, their families and the wider community have all been well documented – death, serious and permanent disability, increased crime and violence, the breakdown of family structures, the loss of culture and community degradation.”

    The new regulations cover the sale, supply and possession of a regulated substance in the knowledge it will be inhaled.

  • observa

    Better to be caught hanging out with Osama in Afghanistan than with petrol in the Pitlands by the sounds of things. Perhaps you could plead extenuating circumstances if the petrol was pasteurised.

  • Sam Ward

    Pretty stupid as well.

    It would be cheaper to force all petrol bowsers in Australia to switch to Opal than it would be to start a “War On Petrol” along the same lines as the war on drugs.

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