Pokies give $5.5B to AU economy

Aug 21, 2018 3:00 AM

In Australia, poker machine manufacturers have fired the latest salvo at gambling industry critics, revealing some details of a soon-to-be-released study that estimates pokies (the Australian euphemism for gaming terminals), contribute $8.32 billion in yearly value-added revenue to the Australian economy.

Research by the Centre for International Economics also found yearly taxes derived from pokies exceeded $5.5 billion across the nation, which helps to bankroll significant public infrastructure and services, according to Gaming Technologies Australia, a group representing gaming manufacturers that include Aristocrat Leisure and Ainsworth Game Technology. Both companies maintain major offices in Southern Nevada.

“So when the anti-gambling activists drive off down the pokies-funded road to drop their kids at the pokies-funded school, and when they have to visit the pokies-funded hospital, I hope they remember that government revenue from gambling benefits all Australians, whether they like poker machines or not,” the industry group’s chief executive Ross Ferrar, told reporters last week.

Ferrar spoke at the Australasian Gaming Expo in Sydney last week.

Prominent anti-gambling advocates called Ferrar a “denialist” who was ignoring the social costs of widespread gambling in the nation.

The full study, The Value of the Gaming Machine Industry in Australia, commissioned by the Gaming Technologies Association, is still in draft form and has not yet been made public.