Gympie's not-for-profits score big pokie profits
NOT-for-profit sporting and social support organisations own and operate more than half the poker machines in our region.
Across the Gympie local government area, 19 venues operate 370 electronic gaming machines.
Gamblers lost more than $150m on the region's pokies from July, 2004 to April 30 this year.
ARM Newsdesk research shows six community-based not-for-profits operate 189 of the city's pokies.
Traditional pubs own the remaining 181 machines.
With 80 pokies, the Gympie and District Memorial and Citizens Club has the city's largest number of electronic gaming machines.
Other community-based operators include Rainbow Beach Sports Recreation and Memorial Club with 50 machines; Tin Can Bay Country Club with 28 machines, Cooloola Coast Bowls Club has 10 machines, Kandanga Country Club has five and the Rainbow Beach Surf Life Saving Supporters Club has 16.
Gympie RSL manager Roy Shipp said the business employed 32 staff and the RSL started operating in 1932.
Mr Shipp said the club contributed significantly to the city's economic fabric and was an ongoing sponsor of local charities.
"We use lots of local businesses such as butchers, fruit and vegetable shops and local tradies," Mr Shipp said.
"We sponsor many community events to help make them happen, we donate regularly to local charities and we continue to improve our venue for our members."
The club installed its first pokies in 1991.
Without them, Mr Shipp said the RSL would be unlikely to play a huge role in the Gympie region.
"We would not be in the position we are in now," he said.
"Our community benefits would be less, we would have less employees which would indirectly affect Gympie's economy."
Clubs Queensland chief executive officer Doug Flockhart said community-operated venues contributed over $2.2 billion to the national economy.
"Further Queensland clubs employ over 22,000 people including over 9000 from regional areas, which has grown in the last four years," Mr Flockhart said.
"Clubs also provide over $850 million in social contributions, whether that be in community donations, subsidised access to facilities and volunteering - this equates to around $770,000 per club."
ARM Newsdesk spent more than two months seeking comment from Gympie Regional Council, Mayor Mick Curran and the Gympie Chamber of Commerce for comment but none responded.
Woolworths and Coles make a trolley load of cash from hotel investments
WOOLWORTHS and Coles are profiting from poker machines in regional communities.
While the supermarket giants have not yet bought any Gympie gaming venues, they do have significant investments in nearby Fraser Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
Coles and Woolworths own about 19% of the poker machines in the Noosa-Sunshine Coast region and 8.5% of the Fraser Coast local government area's electronic gaming machines.
Woolworths Limited is a 75% shareholder in the ALH Group and the other 25% is owned by the Mathieson Group.
In total, ALH has 294 hotels across the nation.
An ALH Group spokesman said Woolworths took responsible gambling seriously and that was why the company had installed pre-commitment technology across all of its gaming venues.
"The pre-commitment functionality assists our customers to gamble responsibly by nominating spend and or time limits on electronic gaming machines," the spokesman said.
"Pre-commitment settings can be set at the hotel or via the internet.
"Voluntary pre-commitment and responsible gambling dynamic messaging will also appear on (the pokies) screen."
Coles operates its venues through its Spirit Hotels subsidiary that manages 90 hotels in Queensland, WA, SA and NSW.
A Coles spokeswoman said the business complied with all poker machine regulations.
"Coles actively supports responsible gaming practices and adheres to all Commonwealth, state and local regulation to ensure that we are responsible gaming operators, limiting access to young people and vulnerable members of the community," she said. - ARM NEWSDESK
For 24-hour support call The Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858.
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NEXT WEEK: Have you ever wondered who is raking in the riches that flow through our region's poker machines? Next week we reveal the surprising entities that keep on hitting the pokie profit jackpot.