Queanbeyan Pokies Profits Soar During Pandemic Shutdowns
So what do you think happens when a pokies venue shuts down? Do players sit idly by and wait for it to reopen? Do they play at Australian online casinos? Or do they do something else? In the case of Canberra, it appears that players decided to take their business to Queanbeyan.
According to a report from the Canberra Times, pokies profits in Queanbeyan doubled during the months that ACT clubs were closed. This goes to show that despite claims from the ACMA that gambling spending is decreasing, gamblers will try and find a way to play.
Queanbeyan Profits More Than Double
A report from the Canberra Times on Sunday revealed that pokie profits for venues in Queanbeyan saw a stagging increase compared to similar periods in 2019. Back in June, the profits at 15 pokies venues shot up from $3.46 million in 2019 up to $7.38 million in 2020.
This increase continued into July with a 150% percent increase from the same period in 2019. Revenues began to shift back to Canberra in August as gaming venues were allowed to reopen. According to the data, NSW clubs saw only an 84% increase compared to 2019.
Gwyn Rees, chief executive at ClubsACT was fighting hard to bring Canberra back online during the period. He claims that clubs were impacted to the tune of $5 million per week during the shutdowns. According to Rees, “The ACT was the last jurisdiction to provide a COVID recovery roadmap, last to get relief out, slowest to reopen business and is the worst-performing on business support.”
That’s not to say that Queanbeyan isn’t still profiting from the recent upheaval. According to data, profits for the eight clubs and seven hotels in the city dropped down to $5.32 million. That’s still a 27 percent increase from the same period last year.
King Sees Increase in Online Gambling in
The shutdowns were viewed as a mixed bag from one source in regard to problem gambling. Julie King, a spokesperson for Relationships Australia was quoted in the Canberra Times piece on Sunday touting that shutdowns had a mixed result for problem gamblers.
First, she stated that the shutdown has helped some problem gamblers because they did not have access to poker machines during the shutdown. However, the flip side to this is that she has seen an increase in online gambling.
According to King, “I think the biggest issue of what’s happened with COVID is not necessarily changing the behaviour of the gambler but it’s the potential impact that had on their families.
If the gambler would not normally be gambling in the house the children would not normally be exposed to it, but given during the COVID time children were at home often they would observe their parent or their older sibling gambling which increases the risk to children.”
This would seem to further back claims from the AGRC that online gambling spending is on the rise. Of course, problem gambling spending is not the thing we want to see on the rise. However, it was going to be a consequence of shutting down live pokie venues.
Players Will Find a Way to Play
The biggest takeaway from this story is that gamblers will find a way to play. Some will go to other areas of Australia where casino games are still being played. Others will sign up for online casinos to play blackjack, pokies, or their favorite online casino games.
With that said, we still fully support the shuttering of pokies venues and live casinos during the pandemic. Human lives were at stake and there are alternatives available online. In the end, games will always be there to be enjoyed by healthy individuals.
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