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As an area in which I have developed a particular expertise in the hotel/club industry having undertaken work for both Tabcorp and Tatts on gaming venues (both profitable and financially distressed) in the past, it was interesting to see that the Victorian Government has just released is report titled ‘Evaluation of the removal of ATMs from Victorian gaming venues’ which can be found here.

To save you the trouble of pulling up the report yourself, below is an extract taken from the report’s Executive Summary:

“Key Findings
Harm minimisation: The removal of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) from venues with Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs or ‘pokies’) has been an effective harm minimisation measure in the state of Victoria.
Higher risk gamblers spend less time and money on EGMs.
Higher risk gamblers report increased self‐control over spending.
Higher risk gamblers report reductions in overspending and severity of problem gambling symptoms.

Consumer protection: ATM removal has similarly been an effective consumer protection measure.
Gamblers spend less time playing EGMs.
Low risk gamblers spend less time at clubs.
Low risk gamblers report increased control over gambling spending.
Low risk gamblers report reductions in impulsive overspends on gambling.

Costs to venues: Venue revenue and patronage has declined as a result of ATM removal.
Victorian venue EGM revenue has decreased by 7%.
Non‐EGM gaming and non‐gaming revenue may have decreased by a similar amount.
Venue patronage has decreased somewhat since venue‐based ATMs were removed.
Minor one‐off costs were incurred for refurbishments following ATM removal.

Costs to patrons: ATM removal is likely to be less effective for some problem gamblers and has caused minor inconvenience to EGM venue patrons.
Entrenched problem gamblers likely to access additional funds from external cash facilities or venue‐based EFTPOS.
Absence of ATMs a minor inconvenience for patrons of EGM venues. “

By way of comment I note that the withdrawal of Tatss and Tabcorp from the ownership of the EGMs has seen a significant uplift in the amount of revenue being retained by the hotel/club operators. So whilst EGM revenue may have decreased by 7%, this is more than offset by the additional revenue flowing to these venue operators as compared to the pre-auction EGM position (even after the repayment of EGM entitlements). The next step by the Vic Gov’t appears to be the implementation of voluntary pre-commitment but I doubt that this will cause much of a concern for many venue owners (so long as they don’t fall into the trap of ramping up trading expenses to match the climbing revenue figure)

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