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News & events of the Kaurareg homeland of Kaiwalagal, the Torres Strait homeland, and Cape York homelands of the Anggamuthi, Atambaya, Wuthathi, Yadhaykenu and Gudang Peoples
23 - 29 May 2012 • Thursday Island • www.torresnews.com.au • email@example.com • Edition No. 1015 • $2.00 inc. GST
Reviving sounds and
stories of the Torres Strait
Badu artist George Nona and traditional owner Maluwap Nona hold a totemic drum, or warup, carved by George and now on display at the Malu Paru Restaurant at the Grand Hotel on Thursday Island. George is using his contemporary art practice to revive the myths and traditions of the Torres Strait. Read more >> page 4. PHOTO: MELINDA TUPLING
Torres Strait gamblers losing 25% of income on the pokies: Report New Menu By MARK BOUSEN GAMBLERS in the Torres Strait are losing almost $5500 a year (more than $100 a week) on electronic gaming (poker) machines, the author of report into the machines has estimated.
Dr Charles Livingstone, of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, told the Torres News, that, based on figures available on poker machine gambling in Far North Queensland, gamblers were losing $5496 a year, or 24.6 per cent of the median
THE TALE OF WOE FROM POKIES Good Food Good Prices Seafood Platter Daily Specials Saturdays
individual income for Torres Shire. (Median individual income means, in general terms, the average income throughout the region. Therefore, many will earn above the median average and many below. Continued Page 2 >>
Urgent action needed to reduce pokie-fuelled gambling, Page 3 >> Regional/rural residents more likely to play pokies, Page 3. >>
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Gamblers lose 25% of income on the pokies From Page 1 << The loss of income by gamblers who are below the median income will be higher than the 24.6 per cent, while the percentage will be lower for those who earn above the median income. The median income for Torres Shire is approximately $22,341 a year.) Dr Livingstone (pictured right) estimates the four outlets in Torres Shire, which house 82 poker machines, reap $3,431,625 a year in net revenue. He estimates the turnover at 10-fold the net revenue figure - that is $34,316,250 a year, between $5-10 million a year or $100,000-$200,000 a week more than previously believed by industry sources. Previous estimates have placed the ďŹ gure at between $20-30 million a year. Dr Livingstone said: â€œObviously in a very disadvantaged community, the magnitude of these losses would be very keenly felt. â€œIt would have an immediate income on well-being and, in particular, on the wellbeing of families, especially children.â€? Dr Livingstone is the co-author of a report - Assessment of poker machine expenditure and community beneďŹ ts claims in selected Commonwealth Electoral Divisions - released during April. The report, commissioned by the Uniting Church Australia, studied poker machine activities across numerous electoral divisions
in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT. Twelve electoral divisions in Queensland were the focus of the report, but did not include the seat of Leichhardt, held by Mr Warren Entsch. The report found that 31 per cent of the population in Queensland played poker machines. There are 83 poker machines within Torres Shire, according to the Queensland Governmentâ€™s OfďŹ ce of Liquor and Gaming Department. Royal Hotel has 35, Grand Hotel 22, Torres Hotel 20, and Wongai Hotel on Horn Island has six (6). The department has refused, on several occasions, to disclose the operating ďŹ gures for the four outlets, saying they do not disclose ďŹ gures where there are ďŹ ve or less outlets. They say this policy is designed to protect the licensees, not the gamblers. Based on the Government ďŹ gures, each machine in FNQ returns a net revenue of $41,345 a year on average. On that ofďŹ cial ďŹ gure, the net returns for the four outlets would be: Royal Hotel, 35 machines: $1,447,075 million a year or $27,828 a week; Grand Hotel, 22 machines: $909,590 a
year or $17,415 a week; Torres Hotel, 20 machines: $826,900 a year or $15,902 a week; Wongai Hotel, 6 machines: $248,070 a year or $4770 a week. Given that the net returns, as a rule of thumb within the industry, can be multiplied by 10 to give an approximate turnover ďŹ gure, then turnover could be: Royal Hotel, 35 machines: $14,470,750 a year or $278,284 a week; Grand Hotel, 22 machines: $9,095,900 a year or $173,492 a week;
Torres Hotel, 20 machines: $8,269,000 a year or $159,019 a week; Wongai Hotel, 6 machines: $2,480,700 a year or $47,705 a week. Poker machines are legislated to return up to 90 per cent of turnover as winnings. The losses by users of poker machines are simply calculated. There were 2014 adults in Torres Shire at the last census, and, based on the state-wide ďŹ gure of 31 per cent people using poker machines, there are slightly more than 600 people using them in the Torres Shire outlets. Given the net revenue of $3,431,625, distributed among the 624 users (on average), the loss per player is simply calculated. The report found: â€œPrevious research has shown that the impacts of poker machine losses are felt at every level, by individuals, their families, in lower spending in other local businesses and by other fund-raising organisations. â€œThis research veriďŹ es that these impacts are concentrated in those communities least able to absorb them. â€œPoker machines clearly extract significant financial resources from already disadvantaged communities. â€œDisadvantage is itself a predictor of extent of poker machine losses, along with the number of poker machines in a local community.â€?
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