Published on April 17th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson0
Claims Of Benefits To Community By Poker Gaming Machines Don’t Add Up
Back when government run lotteries were first making their inroads in Ontario, Canada, the argument used to support the legalization was that the money earned from the lotteries would go to hospitals and schools. Some thirty years later the Ontario Lotteries and Gaming Commission (OLG) pulls in millions upon millions of dollars and yet we have longer line-ups in hospital waiting rooms, areas where people don’t even have family doctors; because there aren’t any to be found, and our education system is going downhill.
So it didn’t really surprise me when I came across this study that was done in Australia where its findings totally contradict the claims by government that communities are benefiting from legalized poker machines.
The study was lead by Dr. Charles Livingstone of the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Monash University, where the researchers looked into the claims of community benefit versus poker machine expenditures. The study analyzed data from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory during a period of 2010 to 2011.
In New South Wales alone poker machine players lost almost $5 billion but the clubs in New South Wales where the money was lost only contributed $63.5 million back into the community. Victoria fared no better where gamblers lost $2.6 billion but the communities only saw $62.8 million find its way back.
Dr. Livingstone said the claims of charitable and community contributions by clubs merely deflected attention from the harm caused by poker machines.
”It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that poker machine community benefit claims are principally intended as a device to legitimate poker machine operations,” Dr. Livingstone said.
”There is no doubt that poker machines cause considerable harm. Claims of community benefits are arguably a smokescreen to enlist the support of those who benefit from them – local sporting clubs and charities.