User:U3036219/Poker Machine Reform – The Effects on the Landscape of Australian Sport

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Not Yet Completed - From Meeting Friday 1:00pm BPS2011 Essay


Poker Machine Reform – The Effects on the Landscape of Australian Sport


This essay will be focussing on the Poker machine reforms that have been introduced to Parliament and how they will affect the sporting landscape within Australia if they are passed. It will look at the reforms and how they will affect sport at a National, State and Local level. The introduction of the reforms looks set to affect many sporting teams and individuals by lowering the amount of revenue that a club will be able to receive through its parent clubs, where less profits will be made which will in turn, mean that less funding will be available to support local and junior sport in different regions around Australia. This will have a detrimental effect on the communities that these sporting clubs are a part of, as clubs may need to pull out of their involvement in sport competitions and reduce the number of teams that they provide with funding and equipment. The paper will look at the issues at a National level, as well as an insight into the local Canberra region, where sport is a very strong part in the culture of the city. The essay will also incorporate how business and politics have interacted with the sporting landscape of Australia and how they may have affected the outlook on sport in Australia.


The Australian Sporting Landscape has always offered a rich and diverse range of sports and events that cater to many different playing levels and age groups. From professional athletes right the way down to grass-roots juniors who are beginning to understand the fun and enjoyment that can be developed from sport, it has always provided Australians with a sense of identity to be successful. Australians thrive on the traditions and values that have been instilled into our culture from sport throughout the ages. From Bradman and Phar Lap during the Depression, through to the success of today’s current sporting teams and individuals, Australia has been recognised globally as a nation who performs strongly at a global scale. This dominance and success, however, could be affected in the future if the laws on poker machines are passed by the Federal Government. The ramifications could be widespread, through the national sporting organisations, filtering down into damaging sport in local communities.

Business and politics form strong bond and associations with sport, whether that is through funding and sponsorship, or through the establishment of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to help fund each sport. Without governance or structure of sporting bodies, then they would not be financially successful or viable, so strong administration of business is needed to compliment the success.

Issues at a National Level[edit]

The issues that will be defined at a national level will have a significant effect on sport in Australia. The business of sport is intrinsically intertwined in the culture of Australians, and to allow the reforms to be implemented will have a serious effect on sport competitions that run at a National level. Leagues such as the AFL and NRL will be directly affected, because revenues will decrease as a result of potentially less patrons using Leagues Club facilities to enjoy watching their team play. Dupree, (2011), found that a club in Adelaide believes that if the reforms are passed, that the club will lose up between 30-40% of its revenues that they would use on ‘development, facilities, sponsor support and work with charities’. The Club also strongly believes that the community that they support is the main focus of why the club is running, and the development of local kids to be active and be involved in sport. SANFL football operations manager Darren Chandler also stated in the article that he believed up to around 300 clubs throughout the state of South Australia relied on the revenue that pokies bring to their individual clubs.

The Courier-Mail (2011), also found that poker machines have a strong influence on the NRL. An interview with David Gallop, the CEO of the NRL, found that clubs contributed about $25 million dollars each year to the clubs they are associated with, but also found that the contribution to junior sport was heavily supported, with clubs working strongly to try and attract kids and their families to join up at the club at a junior level, and make them more interested in the sport. This is a vital point when referring to the business of the sport, as attracting juniors and retaining them throughout their growth is an important step in gaining revenue. Families soon become involved in the dealings with the club, and may eventually become members of a club. This is a boost to the club, but also a boost for the sport as more revenue is created to help support the teams that they are involved with. Gallop also stated that ‘over 1100 clubs were supported by revenues from clubs in 2010, with $40 million dollars being passed through to the junior clubs’ (Courier-Mail 2011).

A spokesperson for the NRL also stated in The Age (2011), that clubs faced losses of ‘up to $71 million to alter machines in accordance with the reforms’. They also said that clubs would record losses in revenue of an estimated $144 million a year. These 2 figures are worrying thoughts that clubs would have to face if the reforms are passed through parliament. Politics is an important part of what is happening. Corporate politics is working strongly to ensure that these reforms do not become law, by running campaigns to ensure that the public and communities who are involved with clubs are aware of the ramifications that the changes will have.

Issues at a Local Level[edit]

The reforms will also provide a significant negative effect on the sport landscape at a Local Level, with many sporting teams across varying sports are reliant on clubs and the revenue that is generated to operate and run smoothly. These teams use the clubs to enhance their image, or use the fields and equipment that is provided to ensure that young juniors from the Canberra region are able to participate in an active lifestyle.

Many local sporting clubs are dependent on the support that clubs provide financially to continue operating successfully. AFL, Football (soccer), rugby league and union, all are involved in different playing levels within the Canberra region that have teams that are funded through clubs. These clubs use the revenue that they receive from poker machines and other forms of gambling and entertainment to sponsor these football sides. Ainslie Football Club, for example, have many junior teams playing in different ages ranges in the local AFL competition. Without the support and backing from the club, these young children would not be able to play for the club with their mates, or it may mean that parents are required to pay more for registration fees and uniform fees, because the revenue from the club has deteriorated.

These reforms will be negative to the growth and maturity of young children in playing sport as they will be deterred from becoming involved in sport because of the cost that is involved.


It is important to understand that sport is an integral part of the Australian ethos and has a strong contribution to the society that we live in today. It is vital than, that the business of sport be fully recognised so that it can be a viable industry for the future and to help increase the success of sport. These reforms will damage that spirit as they have the potential to drive young children away from playing sport, as clubs will not be financially able to support the community through sport and recreation. The business of sport is something that everyone should be able to have the opportunity of cashing in on, whether that be through financial means, or through a more personal meaning, such as healthy lifestyle, of enjoyment. It is important that this is instilled in the future generations as they mature, so that they can continue the traditions that have been before them. These reforms will take away many of those opportunities as clubs will no longer be able to provide financial stability and support to the sports industry.


U3036219/Poker Machine Reform – The Effects on the Landscape of Australian Sport
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