Pokies giants would make $80 million more under gambling reforms: Greens

Gaming Minister Paul Toole announced the reforms last week.

Gaming Minister Paul Toole announced the reforms last week. Photo: Getty

Pokies giants could make $80 million more a year under the proposed new gambling reforms, according to analysis by the NSW Greens.

The state government defended its proposal on Monday, after Greens gambling harm spokesperson Justin Field said the legislation would essentially slow down the reduction of machines.

Mr Field argued allowing machines to be leased instead of forfeited would increase profits by at least $80 million a year by 2020, “and possible double that”.

“[Under the changes] there’d be absolutely no reason for venues that were thinking of getting out of the machines … to use the current forfeiture arrangement,” Mr Field said on Monday.

“They would lease them.”

Mr Field expected there would be almost 1200 more machines in NSW by 2020 than would be the case if the forfeiture system remained in place.

But NSW Racing Minister Paul Toole said the NSW Greens were wrong.

He said the total number of machines in the highest risk areas of the state cannot rise under the proposed changes.

“About 20 per cent of the state will now become a ‘no go’ zone for additional machines,” Mr Toole said in a statement.

“The total number of machines in these areas can’t increase through either trading or the leasing scheme we announced last week.

“Additional machines will not be able to move into high-risk areas, whether they are traded or leased.”

At present, when poker machine entitlements are transferred from one venue to another a percentage must be handed back to the government.

That’s seen a reduction from more than 100,000 machines in 2010 to just over 95,000 in 2017, according to the Greens.

Mr Field wants the proposed laws subject to a parliamentary inquiry and on Monday called on Labor to back the move.

A ClubNSW spokesperson said Mr Field was making “back-of-the-envelope calculations”.

“There is no way the government’s reforms will produce anything near $80 million in additional gaming revenue per annum,” the spokesperson said in a statement to The New Daily.

“He should stick to writing media releases preaching the merits of prohibition and leave the economic forecasting to the experts.”

-with AAP

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