counting the cost of queensland’s “red tape reduction”

On July 1 2014, the Queensland Coalition state government’s “red tape reduction” program came into effect. This included a number of measures affecting the gaming machine industry in that state, such as:

  • how many machines a single operator could run (which has gone up)
  • how easy it is to transfer machines across regional boundaries (now much easier)
  • who regulates the industry (now controlled by a single commissioner)

Other changes covered by then-Premier Campbell Newman’s “red tape reduction” program had a more direct impact on gamblers. Measures that were implemented on or before July 1 2014 include:

  • what size notes could be inserted into machines (formerly capped at $20, now $50 and $100 notes are acceptable)
  • the limit on paying jackpot winnings in cash (formerly $1000, now raised to $5000)
  • the introduction of TITO (ticket in, ticket out) technology, which allows gamblers to put winnings back into a machine without collecting cash
  • the cash input limit on gaming machines (formerly $100, now raised to $199.99)

These measures were applied to the 44,000 gaming machines currently in operation in clubs and hotels in Queensland. It’s been a full year since these changes were introduced, and the cost is clear to see.

Since the “red tape reduction” program came into effect, losses on Queensland’s gaming machines have increased by almost $120 million, or 5.77%. That’s more than double the increase in the previous year, and is the biggest annual increase in gaming machine losses in Queensland in more than 5 years.

Gaming Machine Losses in Queensland – Clubs and Hotels
2013/14 Losses 2014/15 Losses Increase
June $167,817,492.94 $178,360,621.98 $10,543,129.04 6.28%
May $175,692,683.26 $182,600,403.68 $6,907,720.42 3.93%
April $164,622,233.68 $173,852,605.44 $9,230,371.76 5.61%
March $169,363,281.35 $176,934,950.64 $7,571,669.29 4.47%
February $152,916,871.96 $160,579,925.26 $7,663,053.30 5.01%
January $169,653,432.52 $178,624,670.73 $8,971,238.21 5.29%
December $174,023,465.32 $185,408,486.69 $11,385,021.37 6.54%
November $170,537,776.44 $179,396,388.01 $8,858,611.57 5.19%
October $174,664,082.44 $189,047,561.46 $14,383,479.02 8.23%
September $169,179,902.88 $179,237,180.64 $10,057,277.76 5.94%
August $191,295,832.43 $204,414,941.36 $13,119,108.93 6.86%
July $183,938,162.71 $194,381,502.83 $10,443,340.12 5.68%
Total $2,063,705,217.93 $2,182,839,238.72 $119,134,020.79 5.77%
Source: Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation

Campbell Newman’s government may have gone, but their legacy remains… and it’s the people of Queensland paying the cost.

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