Darwin Sailing Club's decision to ditch the pokies sparks a storm of interest from the local community and has prompted a wave of support from all facets of the community, with one local member offering free explosives to aid in the destruction of the 10 pokie machines they have decided to remove.
Blow Up The Pokies Indeed ;)
Smooth Sailing Ahead for Hotel Manager John Melenewycz
"Today has been a storm of interest that I wasn't expecting at all," Darwin Sailing Club manager John Melenewycz said.
The Darwin Sailing Club has gutted its small gaming room of pokies after a six-month process with NT gambling licensing authorities.
The venue had operated its old-style slot machines since at least 1985 but in the past year experienced an internal groundswell of sentiment to remove them.
"We surveyed our 1,000 members last year and asked them about the pokies [being removed]," Mr Melenewycz said.
"Overwhelmingly, people were in support of the idea of using [the gaming room] for something not related to pokies.
"There was nobody out of the 1,000 people who argued to keep them."
The Timing Couldn't Be Better
This comes at a time when Pokie revenue in the Northern Territory is at an all time high, in fact a recent article from NTNEWS shows how the intake from pokies has skyrocketed by nearly $14 million in the past year alone!
"The Director-General of Licensing’s annual report shows total pokies losses in pubs and clubs jumped 20 per cent from $68.8 million to $82.6 million last financial year." - (See source article here)
Further to this, the majority of clubs and pubs in the NT are indeed taking advantage of these skyrocketing pokie stats and are introducing as many as they can possibly fit, following an increase last year by the NT Government to the number of machines that venues can operate.
Last year punters lost more than $80 million in pokies machines installed in Territory pubs and clubs — up 20 per cent on the previous year — with an additional $79.2 million lost at the Territory's two casinos.
The figures came amid ongoing concern from reformed addicts and community groups about the machines being "the crack cocaine of gambling" - which scarily enough is closer to the truth than you would like to think - and the proof can be found HERE
Regarding the decision to remove the pokies...
Mr Melenewycz said the club's removal decision was not a political statement but management believed they were simply better off aligning the club with its "core mission" of sailing and hospitality.
"Gaming has never really fit into that," he said.
"And given the relatively poor performance of the gaming room, the decision was taken to re-use this space more effectively."
The machines took in about $25,000 last year, however after overheads like staffing, electricity and insurance, the resulting takings were not worth it, Mr Melenewycz said
"We feel we made the right decision for the club but it might not be for other clubs," he said.
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