|Poker machines in land gambling establishments in the Australian state of New South Wales have been adjusted to pay out more frequently in an effort to attract more players following a recent smoking ban.|
According to a report from Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, machines in the nation’s most populated state have been tweaked in order to return $57 million extra in winnings to combat falling attendances at clubs.
The newspaper stated that official figures released by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing indicated that the 35 clubs in the Fairfield-Liverpool local government areas near Sydney were the state's most generous, giving back 92.72 cents out of every dollar wagered on average over the last quarter. In contrast, the worst returns were seen in the 98 hotels in the state's southeast around Cooma, which paid back only 87.09 cents in every dollar. The newspaper reported that the rate was much better in clubs because hotels are required to pay a higher rate of tax on turnovers to the Office of State Revenue.
The newspaper stated that the smoking ban passed in June left club and pub gaming hurting as players went elsewhere. Clubs saw their quarterly turnover fall from $10.78 billion a quarter to $9.95 billion with hotels falling from $4.31 billion to $3.91 billion. The Daily Telegraph calculated a windfall to players of about $48.2 million for clubs with the return-to-player ratio up almost 0.5 per cent. It reported that hotels gave back an extra $8.4 million based on return-to-player percentages, turnover, profits and tax data.