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Claims AFL clubs exaggerating effects of poki -

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The AFL has added to the attacks on the Federal Government's proposed poker machine crackdown, with
one club president labelling it a footy tax. But one expert observer says the AFL's complaints are
beyond belief, and limiting poker machine use would not damage the code's clubs.

ASHLEY HALL: A leading gambling researcher has dismissed as 'extraordinary' the AFL campaign
against the Federal Government's planned restrictions on poker machines.

Senior AFL figures are publicly complaining about the poker machine crackdown, with one even
describing it as a "footy tax".

Victorian AFL clubs are estimated to pocket around $30 million annually from poker machines but
that pales in comparison to the record $1.25 billion the code's earning from the sale of its
broadcast rights for 2012.

Lexi Metherell reports.

LEXI METHERELL: Dr Charles Livingstone of Monash University has done a study of the AFL and poker
machine revenue. He says pokies are worth $30 million a year to the Victorian clubs.

That's expected to double from next year, as clubs take advantage of new poker machine arrangements
brought in by the former Victorian Labor government.

But even still, he says pokie revenue is a drop in the ocean when compared to the 2012 AFL
broadcast rights deal worth $1.25 billion.

CHARLES LIVINGSTONE: If you look at two examples, Essendon and Geelong football clubs, pokies
provided 9.5 and 6.5 per cent of their total revenue, respectively. So although it is a lot of
money it is not a huge slice of what they earn in any year.

No one knows for sure how much the impact would be but the best estimates, I think, are around 10
to a 15 per cent range.

JAMIE NETTLETON: This is a very vexed issue.

LEXI METHERELL: Jamie Nettleton is a partner with Addison's Lawyers who specialises in gambling law
and has represented some clubs.

JAMIE NETTLETON: One needs to look back at what the Productivity Commission said a couple of years
ago and whether or not the time limits which have been suggested by the Walker enquiry are in fact
achievable for the clubs.

LEXI METHERELL: How is it then that in Western Australia there is a thriving football scene when
the only place that poker machines are allowed in that state is in the casino?

JAMIE NETTLETON: It is a different economic model which has grown over time and if that revenue is
going to be replicated in New South Wales, it just can't happen overnight.

CHARLES LIVINGSTONE: To claim that pre-commitment is somehow going to scuttle the success of the
AFL clubs is beyond belief. It is an extraordinary claim.

LEXI METHERELL: AFL club presidents will meet today to find out how the record broadcast rights
earnings will be divvied up.

The poker machine issue will also be on the agenda.

But an AFL spokesman says the code won't use this grand final week to campaign against the
Government's proposal.

ASHLEY HALL: Lexi Metherell with that report.