Thursday, 16 June 2011

Garbage In Garbage Out

On the surface, the reporting from the Tweed Head Daily News seems straightforward. However, quick examination of the claims being made uncover uncritical journalism that blissfully publishes the garbage advocacy of the giant pokie industry propaganda machine. The worry is that uncritical reporting dangerously transforms this advocacy into some kind of truth. Here's a reproduction of the article.Click here to read the article online.

No one wants people to lose their jobs and 882 jobs is a lot. I would want whatever causes that to not happen. Ms Masters relies upon a KPMG report to substantiate the headline. However, the story is in immediate trouble as Ms Masters fails to disclose that the KPMG report was initiated and paid for by the pokie clubs. Ms Masters fails to disclose that KPMG is a corporate partner of the giant pokie lobby ClubsNSW. Click here to see the special web page set aside for KPMG on the ClubsNSW web site.

Review of Volume 1 of the Productivity Commission's report shows doubt being expressed about findings submitted by KPMG.

But this is window dressing. The substantial step is to examine the basis of the KPMG finding. And it is lacking in substance. It is based upon an assumption of loss of revenue. The only evidence cited in support of that speculative assumption is a trial in Quebec. No detail can be found on the specifics of that trial so one must examine what does happen in Quebec and see if it has a parallel in NSW.

Turning to the reality of Quebec, click here to read the web page of Loto Quebec, the operator of all Quebec pokies (called "VLTs"). The reality is that in Quebec, gamblers set time limits, losses are limited to $60 per session, the required return to player is significantly higher than any Australian jurisdiction, and bets can be no higher than $2.50. That bet limit is 50% less than Australia's strictest requirement. Who knows what it was before?

There are 12,000 VLTs in the Province of Quebec, a population of 7,970,672. There are 97,065 pokies in NSW, a population of 7,134,421.

The reality of the Quebec consumer protection measures on pokie gambling bear little relationship to the claims being made for NSW.

Then there is Ms Masters uncritical acceptance of the claim that it will cost Far North Coast clubs $73 million to implement the reform. No basis for this claim is made. Looking again upon the reality of "nearly there" systems in place for years in Queensland, this claim is false. The reality is that there is NO CAPITAL COST and the periodical cost for "nearly there" systems is as low as $1.50 per day per machine.

The revenue drop is equally speculative. Again no facts are cited.

Finally, the statement that the "proposed technology, put forward by the federal government in return for the support of Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie" is critically untrue.
  1. The modest consumer protection reforms were the recommendation of the Productivity Commission. Not Mr Wilkie. Not the federal government. They were made after 11 years of study commissioned by both Liberal and Labor governments and full consultation with the pokie club industry.
  2. Jenny Macklin, the responsible federal minister, identified implementation of the Productivity Commission's recommendation on pre-commitment as a "first priority" on 23 June 2010. This is months before Mr Wilkie even ran for election.
Garbage In. Garbage Out. While it is always open for a paper to editorialise, articles presented as news do have some responsibility to accuracy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great work on debunking poorly researched articles. I think the way you lay out your arguments is logical and concise and you provide links to further reading for those people who want some more facts. I know you don't need the readers support as you are clearly very committed, but keep up the good work.

Ian B