Clubs Australia today welcomed the release of the Tasmania Gambling SEIS (Part A) report, which shows that the problem gambling rate in Tasmania has dropped from 0.7% to 0.5% of the adult population.
The Report went even further, and much like an episode of Mythbusters, it also busted several claims made by the Independent MP for Denison and anti-pokies campaigner Andrew Wilkie.
Clubs Australia Executive Director Anthony Ball said it was time for Mr Wilkie to say sorry.
“Andrew Wilkie owes not-for-profit clubs and the Australian public an apology. He openly spread misinformation with the intention to close clubs and hurt an industry that’s main priority is to support the communities they serve,” he said.
“It’s rather fitting to see that the final nail in debunking the statements made by Mr Wilkie was from a report commissioned by his home state.”
Wilkie Myth 1: Problem gamblers account for 40% of total expenditure.
The Tasmanian Gambling SEIS showed that the figure was actually closer to 12%, similar to the figure the Institute of Public Affairs presented after 12 months of studying the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Gambling as well as gambling surveys from across the country.
“The Tasmanian SEIS report shows that the 40% figure that Mr Wilkie throws around is pure fiction. The true figure is far lower as evidenced first by the Institute for Public Affairs and now by the Tasmanian Government. Mr Wilkie deliberately chose an inflated figure to suit his own political needs and in order to hold the country to ransom,” he said.
Wilkie Myth 2: Gambling impacts on people who can least afford it.
The SEIS Report found that gamblers (including recreational, low-risk, moderate risk and problem gamblers) were significantly more likely to be in the labour force compared non-gamblers.
“The Tasmanian SEIS shows what the industry has known for a long time – most Australians gamble responsibly,” Mr Ball said.
“Mr Wilkie consistently stigmatises gamblers as those who can least afford it. The reality is that those who gamble are more likely to have a job and thus a higher income than those that don’t gamble.”
Wilkie Myth 3: Gambling makes no net contribution to the economy.
The Report also ‘mythbusted’ Andrew Wilkie’s claim that if Australia stopped gambling, there would be a positive effect on the economy.
The Tasmanian SEIS clearly shows the cessation of gambling in Tasmania alone would see a reduction in real Gross Domestic Product of between 0.66% and 1.10% - a loss of up to $292 million. There would also be a drop in employment, putting up to 2,400 Tasmanians out of work.
“The fact is that if Mr Wilkie’s claims about gambling featured on ABC’s Fact Check, he would fail every time,” Mr Ball said.