AFL clubs rake in close to $100 million from pokies in Victoria - Alliance for Gambling Reform

AFL clubs rake in close to $100 million from pokies in Victoria

Friday 26 July 2019

Hawthorn has topped a ladder it should be ashamed to lead, being the number one AFL club in terms of profiting off poker machine losses in Victoria.

The club’s two pokies dens fleeced Victorians of just shy of $25 million in the past financial year, according to figures released today by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

Overall the poker machine venues owned by Hawthorn, Essendon, Collingwood, Carlton, Geelong, Richmond, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs brought in close to $100 million in 2018-19.

Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Rev Tim Costello said it was immoral for supposedly family-friendly AFL clubs to be profiting from an insidious industry connected to mental health issues, family violence, and homelessness.

“We must not forget that poker machines lead to the loss of much more than money. In extreme cases, poker machines cause the loss of lives due to suicide,” Rev Costello said. “How can the AFL possibly promote good mental health and family values when it is profiting from gambling harm?

“Thankfully Collingwood has sold its two venues during this past financial year, Melbourne has sold one of its two venues, and the Western Bulldogs and Geelong have indicated they are getting out of pokies. We applaud them for this, and especially applaud clubs such as North Melbourne, who have been pokies-free for the past decade.

“Pokies are rigged against Victorians, taking billions of dollars out of our economy; $2.698 billion in the past financial year alone. The AFL is part of this giant problem. 

“This is despite recent reports about gambling being an epidemic within AFL circles, and two current AFL stars having lost up to $1 million each to gambling. Failing to address problem gambling is failing the AFL, and AFL clubs are failing their supporters by continuing to profit from these dreadful machines.

“It’s not good enough for the AFL to say if they weren’t taking gambling money someone else would. I am not suggesting the AFL should ban gambling altogether, but the fact is the league is in a unique position of influence in Victoria to take the lead on addressing this huge issue.”

Rev Costello said it was time the Victorian Government responded to gambling harm as a public health issue akin to smoking.

“Smoking in bars was once pervasive in Victoria, not unlike the scourge that is poker machines,” he said. “You couldn’t go out without coming home stinking of cigarette smoke. Now we can go out and enjoy ourselves without the effects of passive smoking.

“We call on the Victorian Government to outlaw the predatory and addictive features on poker machines that trick people into believing they are winning when they are actually losing money. These losses disguised as wins and near misses are just abuse of punters, and are frankly immoral.”

 

SORTED BY LOSSES 2018/19        
           
Hawthorn West Waters Hotel Metro Melton Hotel 14,053,614
Hawthorn Vegas At Waverley Gardens Metro Monash Club 10,755,520
Collingwood The Club # Metro Melton Hotel 8,902,299
Melbourne Mvrc Leighoak Club* Metro Monash Club 7,738,947
Geelong Brook On Sneydes Metro Wyndham Club 7,059,473
Carlton Club Laverton Metro Hobsons Bay Club 6,377,866
Essendon Melton Country Club Metro Melton Club 5,874,898
Essendon Essendon Football & Community Sporting C Metro Moonee Valley Club 5,295,945
Richmond Wantirna Club Metro Knox Club 5,289,823
Carlton Royal Oak Richmond Metro Yarra Club 4,275,906
Collingwood Coach And Horses # Metro Maroondah Club 4,030,646
Carlton Manningham Club Metro Manningham Club 3,968,025
Western Bulldogs Club Leeds Metro Maribyrnong Club 3,816,846
Carlton Vic Inn Metro Hobsons Bay Club 3,185,869
Melbourne Bentleigh Club Metro Glen Eira Club 2,865,942
St Kilda St Kilda Football Social Club Metro Kingston Club 2,362,503
Western Bulldogs Peninsula Club Metro Mornington Peninsula Club 2,056,037

*Sold end July 2018

#Sold in December 2018

 

Media contact: Rebecca Thorpe on 0491 209 436 or rebecca@agr.org.au