The most recent financial reports seem to suggest that South Australians love online gambling more than any other form of gambling, as slot machines face a dramatic downturn in revenue gained in the last financial year. Hotels and sporting clubs have been hit the hardest by this change of habits, while online sports betting sites are getting the biggest rewards.
“There has been an extraordinary explosion of online gambling,” says Australian Hotels Association SA general manager, Ian Horne. “Go back a decade and the only place that had a 42-inch flat screen TV was a pub, now they’re very common. “Being at home is also far more easy, you don’t have to drink and drive.” He adds that it is not just gambling revenue which has gone down in pubs, but even revenue from sales of food and drink.
Thanks to the boom in online casino games, the Consumer and Business Services Department figures have shown that players in South Australia lost $731 million in the last financial year – which is down by as much as $60 million from the highs of 2006-7. It is in fact the second lowest amount in the past decade, which means that the State Government are not going to receive the full $34 million of tax revenue which they had expected in their budget forecast.
The Clubs SA deputy president, Bill Cochrane, says that sporting organisations are struggling to fund their activities as gamblers play online rather than through their machines. “If there is revenue being raised through gambling, it should be at least coming back to the state and used for the community benefit,” he said. “While there’s more money moving off to these online gambling sites, we’re getting less and less money for sport and recreation. People can just gamble as much as they like on their phones and computers these days and don’t get out and have be under all of the controls that are in pubs and clubs.” It has also been pointed out by Horne that the tax revenue for offshore sites does not go to the local governments as the machines would have.