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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3180 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

ACT. During that three-hour period, which is one-eighth of the time in a 24-hour period that the machines are open, they achieve 2.4 per cent of the revenue; that is, $3.40 per machine for each machine that is operational during that period.

Mr Kaine asked how many people are using the machines at that time. I will not name the club, but one club in particular had information about the number of machines being played during the hours between 5 am and 8 am over a seven-day period. The maximum number being played at this club, which is a major club in the ACT, at any time was 16, with the average number over the period being only seven. One day showed no machines being played at all during that three-hour period. The club has a total of 270 machines. The club staffing situation for this trading period is a team of four, plus security, with wages estimated at $5,105. With an average of about seven machines times $3.40 and a wages bill of $5,105, you could argue quite persuasively that Mr Rugendyke's bill is doing those clubs a favour by not requiring them to be operating during those times if they choose to close down.

Mr Deputy Speaker, as I said, the information is available here for members to peruse, and I am quite happy for them to look at it. The summary of the information, based on the assumption that there is an average of nine machines that each club uses during the prohibition period, is that there are nine clubs times nine machines; that is 81 machines; revenue of $1,076 per machine per year; that is $87,000. So the totality of the revenue which is being lost to clubs, on this estimate, is probably conservatively estimated to be under $100,000 over an entire year. That is probably the wages of two people.

I very much doubt that we are going to see a large-scale loss of employment in the club industry on the basis of somewhere between $87,000 and $100,000 a year being forgone during those hours because people are not permitted to play. There is also, of course, the possibility that those people will come back and play their machines at other times, so the revenue might not be lost either. Mr Deputy Speaker, that information is available, as I said, for members to peruse.

On that basis I think the indication is very clear that the impact of Mr Rugendyke's legislation is not significant and that it does represent a step towards providing the same relief for problem gamblers that we presently provide for problem drinkers in the ACT. If you are in a club, bar or tavern you will be kicked out at a certain hour of the night, and that, presumably, provides some bar or barrier to people drinking continuously. I think it is appropriate to consider a similar barrier for people who have a problem with gambling, and this measure therefore is appropriate.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (4.14): Mr Deputy Speaker, this bill is an attempt to limit, as we all know, the operation of gaming machines by preventing licensees from allowing the machines to operate unless the licensed premises are open for the sale of liquor. Of course, as the Chief Minister just indicated, licensed premises must close the bar for three hours each day between 4 am and 8 am. Thus, this bill will prevent the operation of gaming machines for the same period.

Mr Humphries: No, between 4 am and 7 am or 5 am and 8 am.

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