Smoking ban fears

By ED SOUTHORN

TWIN Towns Services Club chief executive Rob Smith has warned it is likely there will be fewer jobs in Tweed clubs after smoking is banned in NSW clubs and pubs from July.

Mr Smith said he was not surprised that poker machine revenue in Queensland clubs and pubs had dropped by almost $50 million due to smoking bans, according to latest data reported yesterday. He said Twin Towns, the Tweed's largest employer, had a total of about 550 full and part-time staff.

Due to high jobs turnover in the clubs industry, Twin Towns hires about seven to 10 people every week, but Mr Smith expects the numbers employed to fall and job cuts to occur through natural attrition, after the smoking ban is in place.

Mr Smith said gaming was the biggest contributor to clubs' profitability and cuts in gaming revenue would probably lead to reduced employment, and reduced services to club members.

"Clearly there is a link between people who play poker machines and people who smoke," Mr Smith said.

"The smoking ban will impact on the profitability of all licensed venues."

Queensland Office of Gaming Regulation figures show pokies turnover was down $48.3 million in the 12 months to February.

The total smoking ban at Queensland licensed venues has been in place since last July.

Twin Towns, Seagulls and all other NSW clubs and pubs are currently allowed a maximum of 25 per cent of total floor space for smoking.

From July, smoking will be banished to outdoor balconies and beer gardens.

Mr Smith said evidence in other states showed it was not true that revenue from non-smokers playing poker machines would eventually replace smokers, and there was no revenue "bounce back" after the initial downturn due to smoking bans.



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