Where your dollars go after the pokies

Caboolture Sports Club CEO Kelvin Patch argues the revenue raised from pokies goes to good use back into the community.
Caboolture Sports Club CEO Kelvin Patch argues the revenue raised from pokies goes to good use back into the community. Contributed

SOME punters may feel like they're being cheated when they hit the pokies and think the venue takes home all the winnings but millions of dollars are in fact put back into the community from money spent on electronic gaming machines.

In the last year, more than $200million was spent on EGMs in venues in the Moreton Bay region, according to Queensland Government statistics.

There were about 3200 in operation during this period, which means approximately $63,000 was spent on each of these machines from August 2015 to August 2016.

Across the eight venues with EGMs in Caboolture, about $16million was spent.

But the Caboolture Sports Club, who arguably operate the most pokie machines in Caboolture, pay nearly $15million in community support, taxes and wages.

Sports Club CEO Kelvin Patch said they provided over $1.8million in cash and in-kind support to the community in the last financial year alone.

"In the past 18 years our community support has totalled more than $12million,” he said.

"In addition we operate six sporting clubs with more than 5000 annual participants, provide employment to over 200 staff with an annual wage bill of $6.7million and contribute more than $6.4million in State Government taxes each year.”

The club's revenue raised from pokie machines was called into question following a report presented on TV last Monday. It singled the club out as generating some of the highest amounts of revenue from poker machines in south east Queensland.

Mr Patch said the report was sensationalised and misleading and failed to make any mention of the enormous contribution clubs provide to their communities.

"The report misled viewers, manipulating poorly sourced facts to suggest that poker machines at the venues listed payout less than in other venues,” he said.

"Poker machines at all venues operate with the same return to player percentage, which is between 85 and 92 cents for every dollar bet.

"This is set by the manufacturer for each different game and approved and regulated by the Queensland Office of Liquor & Gaming Regulation.

"They targeted us because we are one of the biggest venues in the region, but what they failed to point out was that we have over 42,000 members and welcome more than 10,000 customers through our doors each week.”

Mr Patch went on to claim that Clubs Queensland, his club nor any others in the story were contacted before it aired.

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