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Smoking ban affects gaming losses

7 January 2008

AUSTRALIA -- As reported by the Australian: "Smoking bans introduced in pokies venues to protect the health of staff and patrons have had the added bonus of providing a long-term fall in gaming losses, mostly benefiting heavy gamblers.

"A new study has found that spending on pokies has remained about 14 per cent below pre-smoking ban levels, despite predictions an initial drop in gaming machine revenues would be temporary.

"The study looked at annual gaming machine revenues following the Victorian Government's introduction in September 2002 of a ban on people smoking while playing pokies at the state's 523 gaming venues.

"...The centre's executive director, Fiona Sharkie, said the smoking bans, introduced primarily to protect the health of hotel and club patrons and staff, had resulted in the additional social benefit of helping problem gamblers because they were often also heavy smokers..."

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